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Broadcasters, teleport ops with EEFC account can pay transponder charges directly

MUMBAI: Broadcasters and teleport operators who have an Exchange Earner’s Foreign Currency (EEFC) account can pay satellite service providers directly in foreign exchange without approaching the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB).

Broadcasters and teleport operators required MIB approval to pay foreign satellite operators in foreign currency towards availing transponder services on foreign satellite for uplinking of TV channels/teleports/DSNG vans.

The MIB has taken this decision in view of the exemption granted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The ministry believes that the move will help in further easing the process of remittance of foreign exchange satellite service providers outside India.

On 25 June 2014, the MIB had directed all broadcast companies and teleport operators to strictly follow the guidelines under the provisions of the FEMA Act read with Master Circular No. 6/2014-15 dated 1 July 2014.

Rule 4 of Master Circular No.6/2014-15 dated 01.07.2014 provides, “No person shall draw foreign exchange for a transaction included in the Schedule II without prior approval of the Government of India.”

However, specific exemption is provided for EEFC account holders.

Rule 6 (l) of the Master Circular states, “Nothing contained in Rule 4 or Rule 5 shall apply to drawl made out of funds held in Exchange Earners’ Foreign Currency (EEFC) account of the remitter. ”

In the past, the ministry dealt with such cases where payments (usually part payments) were being made from this account and then issuing approval for remittances proposed to be made from other than the EEFC account.

Proposals seeking prior approval would require to be sent to the MIB only if the proposed remittance is from an account other than an EEFC account.