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New I&B minister expected as PM Modi drops Rajyavardhan Rathore

The M&E industry will closely watch PM Modi’s next moves

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MUMBAI: In a rather surprising move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi excluded Olympian Rajyavardhan Rathore from his new council of ministers. The 49-year-old, who held charge of twin ministries – Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, was widely regarded as one of the star ministers during PM Modi’s first term.

The media and entertainment industry is bound to track PM Modi’s next moves rather closely. There are several key decisions the next I&B minister is likely to take.

Among the priorities for the new minister will be drafting the new national broadcast policy. During the FICCI FRAMES earlier in the year, MIB secretary Amit Khare had stated the draft policy was being prepared.

The ministry, in all likelihood, will finalise a DTH policy. Last year, DTH operators with expiring licenses were given a six-month extension that ends on 30 June.

OTT platforms could be an area the new minister ventures into. There have been several reports of the MIB’s intention to formulate certain regulations for India’s booming streaming sector. A national media communication policy too is on the anvil.

The MIB has also invited all the key stakeholders next month to deliberate over altering the uplinking and downlinking policy.

The new minister will also have to take a call on the proposed amendment to the Sports Act, a move that would hurt the interests of India’s top sports broadcasters.

Rathore, who joined the BJP in 2013, became a two-term MP from Rajasthan after beating fellow Olympian Krishna Poonia of the Congress in the Jaipur rural constituency.

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