The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved revised guidelines for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting services, allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as increasing the licence period to 20 years.
Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Prakash Jaavdekar said, “Due to our I&B guidelines, this field was not getting the benefit of 100 per cent FDI. Now, from today’s decision, after changing the guidelines, the guidelines will have the same guidelines as Commerce Ministry, and will come under 100 per cent FDI.”
Under the revised guidelines the licenses will be issued for a period of 20 years, compared to 10 years at the moment, and will be renewed for a 10-year period. The license fee has been revised from 10 per cent of gross revenue (GR) to 8 per cent of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), which will be calculated by deduction of GST from GR.
Further, broadcasting firms will have to pay the license fee on quarterly basis, rather than the annual basis as of now.
The revised guidelines “may also enable DTH service providers to invest for more coverage leading to increased operations and higher growth and thereby enhanced and regular payment”, the government said in a statement.
The government has also allowed DTH operators to share infrastructure. “DTH operators, willing to share DTH platform and transport stream of TV channels, on voluntary basis, will be allowed,” the statement said. “Distributors of TV channels will be permitted to share the common hardware for their Subscriber Management System (SMS) and Conditional Access System (CAS) applications.”
Sharing of infrastructure by the DTH operators, the government noted, “may bring in more efficient use of scarce satellite resources and reduce the costs borne by the consumers”.
In another decision, the Cabinet also approved the merger of four of its film media units — Films Division, Directorate of Film Festivals, National Film Archives of India, and Children’s Film Society, India — with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) Ltd.
Javadekar said that there was “duplication” between some of these organisations. He said, “After coming together, the governance will become better”.
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