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264 applications for new TV channels await I&B nod
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Broadcasters have a big appetite to beam in India. A total of 264 applications for new television channels are pending with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, according to data provided till 23 July.

No date can be given for disposal of pending applications, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting CM Jatua said.

The I&B Ministry can grant permission only after necessary clearances from the Home Ministry, the Department of Space, and the Department of Revenue are obtained.

Jatua said while there was no ban on receipt of applications, there had been a short period between 18 January and 31 March when applications were suspended following a reference made to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to examine whether there should be any ceiling on the number of channels that could be permitted in the country.

However, the ban had been lifted since the Trai report was taking time.

Trai has since given its report and recommended there should be no ceiling, even as it has laid down certain guidelines for approval of the channels.

Jatua assured that all the 164 private television channels which had received permission before 2 December 2005 to uplink will be considered for renewal if they apply for fresh registration
by 11 November this year for downlinking into the country and pay registration fee of Rs 500,000 for the next five years.

Since these channels had been uplinked before the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines were approved by the Government in November 2005, it had been decided under a notification of 11 May 2006 to treat these 164 channels as registered, while those that applied after 2 December 2005 have been seeking registration in accordance with the Downlinking Guidelines.

It has been decided by the Ministry that the period of registration would be taken as five years from the date of approval of the Guidelines, 11 November 2005.

The list includes all the major channels of Zee, ETV, TV Today group, Sun, NDTV, Sahara Samay, Tara and Gemini.

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