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Several big people against FM radio e-auction, says Narendra Modi

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that “several big people” are “worried” about the ongoing e-auction of private FM radio, had questioned the need of it, and also “put a lot of pressure on me”.

Narendra ModiIn his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort, Modi said: “The FM radio auction is going on. Several big people are worried. A lot of pressure was put on me. I was asked why we are auctioning FM radio, a medium which is of use to the common man and doesn’t entail much earnings… All attempts were made to get my attention.”

Emphasising on the need for transparency, Modi said that a lot of pressure was put on him so that auctions for FM Radio are not held. The money gained through this process will be utilised for the poor, he added.

“The team India of 125 crore people wants transparency. The FM Radio auction for around 80-85 cities is going on. When I checked the day before, the bids had crossed Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion). This money will be of use to the poor.”

The government is going to be a massive revenue gainer from the e-auction of the first batch of private FM radio Phase III channels. The bidding amount has touched Rs 1079 crore (Rs 10.79 billion) against an aggregate reserve price of Rs 449 crore (Rs 4.49 billion).

The business models of several FM radio channels could be under severe pressure. For the lone channel on offer in Delhi, the bid price has zoomed to Rs 169 crore (Rs 1.69 billion) against its reserve price of Rs 31.4 crore (Rs 314 million). While the reserve price in Mumbai was Rs 35.2 crore, the bid price has gone up to Rs 112 crore (Rs 1.12 billion).

The e-auction of the first batch of private FM radio Phase III channels across 69 cities started on 27 July.