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I&B minister to clear TV channel licences deliberately held up by UPA

MUMBAI: Fulfilling its promise of removing policy paralysis that had become a norm during the Congress-led UPA government, the BJP-led NDA has been swiftly clearing TV channel licences that have been pending for a long time.

Prakash Javdekar

Prakash Javdekar

Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the government has cleared 26 pending proposals of new channels in the news and entertainment space. The 26 new licences include the 12 uplinking licences that were cleared in August.

Javadekar stated that some more clearances are in the offing including the ones that have been “deliberately” kept pending for long by the UPA regime.

Recently, the government had approved the TV channel licence of Malayalam news channel Janam TV which was held for more than two years under the UPA since one of the promoters had links with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Effectively, the government has issued 14 new TV channel licences in September, thereby taking the total number of channels to 824.

As on 31 August, the government had permitted 810 TV channels including 398 news and current affairs channels and 412 non-news and current affairs channels.

Javadekar said that his ministry was working with the home ministry to simplify procedures of acquiring licences for existing broadcasters so that channels that have already sought security clearance along with the their boards of directors do not have to seek further security clearance for new channels.

The 12 new TV channel licences that were approved in August included 10 uplinking licences granted to Star India besides two other licences of Janam Multimedia’s Janam TV and Delhi-based MGK Printing Works’ Blue.

Star India had got licences to uplink seven of its existing sports channels that were currently only being downlinked into India. Additionally, it had got licences to launch three more sports channels in multiple languages.