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Govt ponders hiking FDI cap to 49% in media

MUMBAI: In what could be a major fillip to the Indian media industry, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government is contemplating increasing the foreign direct investment (FDI) limits for the media industry.

The government is looking to rationalise the FDI policy and open up the media sector, business news channel CNBC TV18 reported.

Presently, news media, both print and electronic, has an FDI limit of 26 per cent. This becomes a constraint for generally cash-strapped players who have been lobbying with the government for some time to increase it to at least 49 per cent so that it can be attractive for strategic investors who want a significant stake.

If approved, the new FDI cap would be increased to 49 per cent across news channels as well as print. However, in all likelihood, the Indian promoter shareholding may continue to be a minimum of 51 per cent to exercise control.

Additionally, a final decision is yet to be taken on whether the FDI will be allowed through the direct route; however, the report described it as ‘highly unlikely’.

The report quoted sources confirming that the law ministry has given an in-principle go-ahead to the proposal. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has been holding various consultations with the experts.

Media pundits believe that a 49 per cent FDI in print and news channels will infuse a fresh lease of life into the sector.

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