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DPIIT seeks MIB views on issues regarding 26% FDI in digital media sector

Stakeholders and experts raised questions on the clarification

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MUMBAI: As the cabinet recently amended the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy allowing 26 per cent overseas investment in digital media with government approval, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has sought the views of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on issues raised by certain stakeholders over the new policy.

"The extant FDI policy provides for 49 per cent FDI under approval route in up-linking of ''News & Current Affairs'' TV channels. It has been decided to permit 26 per cent FDI under government route for uploading/streaming of news and current affairs through digital media, on the lines of print media," an official statement said.

There was a lack of clarification since the amendment that how the new policy would pan out. According to a PTI report, issues which were raised on the decision have been sent that to the MIB. The ministry is looking into it for suitable clarification, as per an unnamed official quoted by the report.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India stated in a presentation to the DPIIT that the decision would have an impact on the startup ecosystem as continued FDI is critical to enable Indian digital media startups to achieve global scale. The association also said it would be critically harmful if there is not any clarification.

“The scope of the impact will be determined by the wording of the provision in the FDI policy. News and current affairs are present on social media platforms, on digital platforms that are subsidiaries of foreign brands etc. How would you differentiate between TV channels which have 49% and their online streams, which will effectively have 26%?” Eros International group chief marketing officer Manav Sethi also said.

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