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164 TV channels to line up for downlink permission
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New Delhi: Come December, as many as 164 television channels, including NDTV, Zee Group, Sun TV, Sahara TV and TV Today, will have to apply afresh to the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) to obtain the downlink permission.

These channels already had the uplink permission as on December 2005 when the government had announced the downlink guidelines. At the time the government had clarified that all those TV channels that have the uplink permission from within the country need not apply separately for downlink permission for over five years.

The five-year period will end later this year. Any channel seeking the downlink permission will have to shell out Rs 5 lakh per channel for the next five year period. If all the 164 channels apply for the downlink permission, I&B ministry will pocket Rs 8.2 crore.

Currently, there are around 515 TV channels that have the permission to downlink in the country with nearly half being in the genre of news and current affairs. Another 160-170 TV channels are awaiting the necessary permission from the ministry to begin operations. However, the ministry has temporarily suspended the process of taking applications for launching television channels due to spectrum crunch. The matter has been referred to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which is also the broadcast regulator.

Source: The Financial Express

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