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FDI inflow in I&B sector at $309.21 mn in FY16 till Sep

MUMBAI: The Information & Broadcasting (I&B) sector including print media has attracted $309.21 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) during the fiscal year 2016 up to September, the Rajya Sabha was informed.

The sector had attracted much less FDI during the full fiscal year 2014–15 at $254.96 million, as per the FDI inflow data tabled by the Minister of Commerce & Industry (Independent) Nirmala Sitharaman in Rajya Sabha.

The total FDI inflow in the fiscal 2014–15 increased 22 per cent to $44.29 billion compared to $36.05 billion in 2013–14. The FDI inflow increased 29 per cent compared to $34.29 billion received during financial year 2012–13.

Sitharaman stated that the FDI data is not maintained according to states, but according to RBI’s regional offices. FDI equity inflows recorded for a particular regional office of RBI may cover more than one state, she added.

She also told the house that the government has taken up a series of measures to improve ease of doing business with the objective of simplifying existing rules. The government has also introduced information technology to make governance more efficient and effective.

Cabinet approves new FDI policy

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has given ex post facto approval to the new FDI policy with enhanced sectoral caps in 15 sectors including the I&B sector. The government had enhanced FDI caps in broadcast carriage, TV news and FM radio. The FDI hike was notified by the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) on 24 November.

The government had increased FDI limit in the sensitive TV news broadcasting to 49 per cent from 26 per cent under the government route. The FM radio sector, which had witnessed e-auction for Phase III regime, was also opened up with foreign investors having the option of owning 49 per cent equity up from 26 per cent earlier.

The FDI limit in teleports and broadcast carriage services like direct-to-home (DTH), cable TV, IPTV, mobile and headend-in-the-sky (HITS) was also increased to 100 per cent from 74 per cent with up to 49 per cent under automatic route.

The government has also increased FDI limit in satellites (establishment and operation, subject to sectoral guidelines of Department of Space/ISRO) to 100 per cent from 74 per cent through government route.

With 100 per cent FDI allowed under government route, there was no change in FDI in the uplinking and downlinking of entertainment channels. The print media with 26 per cent FDI limit was left untouched by the government.

In a press note, the DIPP had said that in sectors like TV news and FM radio, which have 49 per cent FDI limit, a company needs to be need to be ‘owned and controlled’ by resident Indian citizens and Indian companies.

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