Govt to increase FDI limit in Broadcasting sector

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New Delhi, Oct 17:The Government was considering increase in the Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) limit in the Broadcasting sector.

This was indicated by Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Asha Swarup here today.

At present the FDI limit in the sector is 49 per cent, while in the Telecom Sector it is 74 per cent.

''We are looking into how to bring the FDI limit in the Broadcasting sector in line with the telecom sector,'' Ms Swarup said while participating in a discussion at the India Digital Netwroks Summit organised by the Media Partners Asia and Indiantelevision.com She said since the issue was mainly concerned with the Finance Ministry, her Ministry was in consultation with it over the issue.

Telecom Regulator TRAI Member R N Chaubey, who also took part in the discussion, said TRAI felt that the FDI limit in the Broadcasting sector should be reviewed, because when it has been allowed to go up to 74 per cent in the telecom sector, there was no rationale of not raising it in the case of broadcasting.

''We have already recommended to the Government that the FDI limit in broadcasting should be raised to 74 per cent,'' he said.

Replying to a question on regulation in the broadcasting, Ms Swarup also said the government was redrafting the Broadcasting Services regulation Bill in the light of inputs received from stakeholders, and this time it will be minimalist legislation, leaving out controversial issues.

She, however, said there has to be an independent regulatory authority for the sector and this authority will regulate carriage along with the content.

Earlier, delivering the keynote address, she said voluntary introduction of CAS was not feasible at the moment because of various reasons.

She admitted the implmentation of CAS was slow and consumers were not getting desired satisfaction.

Ms Swarup said the Government will declare its own date for roll out of CAS in other areas if the stakeholders themsleves do not agree to a time frame.

She also said the report of the TRAI on IPTV was in hand and it had recommended that this mode of carriage of content was different fron broadcasting, so it should be treated differently.

TRAI recommendations on HITS technology will also be received soon, she added.

Besides TRAI has been asked to suggest ways to enable participation of private players in the mobile TV service, she said.

UNI

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