Business & Economy

FM radio: Ministry for
20 per cent FDI 
What is India News Service, Wednesday, 13 April 2005, 1500 hrs IST

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has proposed permissions for 20 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the private FM (frequency modulation) radio sector but its position remains unchanged so far as the ban on airing of news and current affairs programmes by this sector is concerned.

At present, only foreign institutional investors (FII) investment up to 20 per cent of the equity capital is allowed in any private FM radio company, while FDI is not permitted.

"We have formalised the policy package for private FM radio and sent it to various ministries for obtaining their views, before taking it to the Cabinet," the Information and Broadcasting Minister, S. Jaipal Reddy, said today while talking to media persons on the sidelines of a conference organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

He said that his ministry had decided to restrict the FDI level at the existing FII cap. He, however, made it clear that the Government was not open to the idea of allowing news and current affairs on private FM radio. "There are certain reservations, especially on the front on cross-media ownership," he said.

The broadcast regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), had also earlier favoured allowing FDI in private FM radio while making its recommendations on "Licensing Issues Relating to II Phase of Private FM Radio Broadcasting". It had pointed out that 20 per cent FDI is allowed in DTH (direct-to-home) and 49 per cent in the cable television industry and suggested review of the policy in a holistic manner and bringing about greater consistency in the rules for various segments.

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PNB Chairman for more advances to SSI sector: Mr S.S Kohli, Chairman and Managing Director of Punjab National Bank ( PNB) said the new Congress government in Haryana should make more advances available to the small-scale industries (SSIs) so that more such industries and their ancillary units could come up in the state.

Basel unveils new proposals: The Basel Committee of banking regulators on Monday unveiled a list of proposals that will complete unfinished business left over from last year's landmark rewrite of capital safety rules. 

World Bank favours FDI in retailing: The World Bank today expressed itself in favour of opening up of the retail sector to foreign direct investment to help India integrate with the global economy.

Canon launches digital cameras: Canon India today launched 28 new products in the domestic market, including 8 DV camcorders, 4 digital cameras, 1 TV printer, 1 portable photo printer, 4 all-in ones, 2 scanners, 2 home cinema projectors, 1 monitoring camera and 1 digital SLR, taking it total product offerings in the country to 110.

End to Monsanto's Bt cotton monopoly?: This is seemingly good news for domestic cotton growers, who are now wholly dependent on Monsanto for transgenic Bt technology to combat the dreaded American bollworm insect pest. The US life sciences giant's monopoly is set to be broken.

Open offers fail to click as market prices rule higher: The recent buoyancy in the stock markets does not seem to augur well for open offers.

HLL looks to beverages for foods biz growth: Hindustan Lever Ltd, which undertook major supply chain and distribution restructuring for its foods business, is finding comfort in backing its revenue and profit earning segments like beverages. 

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