The Union Cabinet has approved auctioning of more than 680 FM channels in 236 cities, including those in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir, from which it expects to raise Rs 1,100 crore, according to an official statement on Thursday. Batch-I and Batch-II auctions of private FM radio channels under Phase-III of the FM Policy Guidelines were held in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
A total of 97 channels in 56 cities were sold in Batch-I, while 66 channels in 48 cities were sold in Batch-II. “Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the way for conducting the auction of 683 channels in 236 cities in subsequent batches,” the statement said. The meeting was held Wednesday but the decision was made public on Thursday, reports PTI.
With the rollout of the third batch auctions, those cities will be benefited where there are no private FM radio channels. They include several cities in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast, where the population is less than one lakh, the statement said. Besides, this batch of auction will also cover cities in districts badly affected by Left Wing Extremism, it said.
With the complete rollout of FM Phase-III auctions, all the 29 states and six out of the seven union territories – except Dadra & Nagar Haveli – will be covered by private FM radio broadcasting, it said.
“This is also likely to generate direct and indirect employment to more than 10,000 persons on a pan-India basis. These auctions will yield an estimated revenue of more than Rs 1,100 crore,” it added.