The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) yesterday said that five TV channels were cleared from April 2023 till now, while the permissions given to 28 channels were transferred over the last six years due to mergers of companies owning them.
It also stated that over the last six years permission has been granted to 237 TV channels to operate in India.
“This Ministry has granted permission to 237 new TV channels during the last six years and to 5 TV channels in the current year, 2023-24,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur informed the Lok Sabha yesterday in reply to a query from a fellow parliamentarian on FDI in media and related issues.
He added: “Further, permission for 28 TV channels has also been transferred due to merger of their respective permitted companies during the last six years.”
According to Thakur, the FDI limit for satellite TV news channels presently is 49 percent, while for non-news channels up to 100 percent foreign investment is permissible.
As per Clause 32 of the Policy Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022, permission of TV channels can be transferred to another company in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 or the Limited Liability Act, 2008, subject to fulfilling conditions mentioned in the guidelines.
The Minister was asked whether the government had allowed more than 75 percent FDI in running private TV channels and 24/7 news channels in the country, while details were also sought about new channels started or those that “were sold, annexed” during the last six years.
In reply to another question from a different parliamentarian, Thakur informed the Lower House that the operating cost of pubcaster Doordarshan has remained by and large static over the last three years.
“Prasar Bharati has informed that the operating cost of Doordarshan is almost the same during the last three years. The average revenue of Prasar Bharati during these years is more than Rs.1350 crore. Prasar Bharati is fulfilling its mandate as a public broadcaster by operating channels at both national and regional levels,” Thakur elaborated.