Regulators

Prakash Javadekar appointed minister for Information and Broadcasting

Rajyavardhan Rathore led the I&B ministry during PM Modi's first term

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MUMBAI: The suspense over portfolios has finally ended and India's thriving media and entertainment sector can now breathe easy. PM Narendra Modi has picked a solid candidate in Prakash Javadekar to take charge of the vital Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).

Javadekar, who is known as a consensus builder, handled the Ministry of Human Resource Development during PM Modi's first term. Apart from MIB, Javadekar will also lead the Environment Ministry.

In a rather surprising move on Thursday, Olympian Rajyavardhan Rathore was dropped 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 will be keenly watching Javadekar's next moves. 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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