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Govt may allow 20 pc FDI in FM radio broadcasting

Our Bureau

New Delhi , April 12

THE Information and Broadcasting Ministry has decided to allow 20 per cent foreign direct investment in private FM radio.

However, it has decided not to permit private radio channels to air news and current affairs programmes.

Under the existing guidelines, while foreign institutional investors (FIIs) can invest up to 20 per cent in private radio companies, FDI per se was not allowed. "We have formalised the policy package for the private FM radio and sent it to various ministries for taking their views, before seeking Cabinet approval," said Mr Jaipal Reddy, Information & Broadcasting Minister, on the sidelines of an Assocham conference.

The Minister said the FDI level is being maintained at the existing FII cap. "We hope to take this proposal to Cabinet soon," he added.

However, the Minister maintained that the Government is not open to the idea of allowing news and current affairs on private FM radio. "There are certain reservations, especially on the front of cross media ownership," he added. Last week, Mr Reddy had announced that the radio industry would be allowed to move from a license fee regime to a revenue share arrangement.

Meanwhile, Mr Reddy said that Ministry has not yet received the views of the Ministry of Company Affairs (MCA) on the Tata-Star direct-to-home application. The Company Affairs Ministry have found loopholes in the application. Also, the I&B Ministry, being the nodal Ministry is unlikely to overrule the views of the MCA.

While addressing the seminar, Mr Reddy said that every filmmaker applying for shooting films in India will get a `deemed acceptance' and a unit in his Ministry will get all the clearances in this regard.

A unit under the Joint Secretary (Films) will scrutinise every application in this regard. India has signed a statement of intent with the UK and was in the process of signing treaties with Italy, France, and Germany among others for co-productions in filmmaking.

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