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Govt brings TV distribution sector under 100% automatic route

MUMBAI: Almost seven months after hiking the ceiling on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the media sector, the Narendra Modi government has undertaken its second major reform. As part of a broader plan, the FDI norms have been liberalised in several key sectors including broadcast carriage services like teleports, cable TV, direct-to-home (DTH), headend-in-the sky (HITS) and mobile TV.

The government has amended the FDI policy on broadcasting carriage services by bringing the sector under 100% automatic route. Earlier, distribution platforms attracting FDI up to 49% could only go through the automatic route.

The government, however, clarified that the infusion of fresh foreign investment, beyond 49% in a company not seeking licence/permission from sectoral ministry, resulting in change in the ownership pattern or transfer of stake by existing investor to new foreign investor, will require FIPB approval.

The FDI limit in the broadcast carriage services is 100%. In TV news and FM radio, the FDI limit remains 49% under government route while that in the non-news channels is 100% under the automatic route.

The FDI limit in the broadcast carriage services was hiked to 100% in November last year. Similarly, the FDI limit in TV news and FM radio was increased to 49% under the government route.

Review of Entry Routes in Broadcasting Carriage Services

Under the government route, foreign companies have to take the foreign investment promotion board’s (FIPB) clearance to buy stake in an Indian company.

Apart from broadcasting carriage services, the government has also amended FDI policy for several other sectors including pharmaceutical and civil aviation.

These amendments, the government said, seek to further simplify the regulations governing FDI in the country and make India an attractive destination for foreign investors. The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the PM.

“Centre has radically liberalised the FDI regime, with the objective of providing major impetus to employment and job creation in India. This is the second major reform after the last radical changes announced in November 2015. Now most of the sectors would be under automatic approval route,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

He also said that the reform measures undertaken by the government have resulted in increased FDI inflows at $55.46 billion in financial year 2015–16 as against $36.04 billion during the financial year 2013–14.

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