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I&B bats for 26% FDI, sourced news in FM radio
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NEW DELHI: Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said Monday a note was being finalised for the Cabinet to recommend an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) limit to 26 per cent from the current 20 per cent and allowing Akashvani-sourced news on private FM radio.

Addressing the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit, Soni said the Ministry’s draft note has been sent to other Ministries including Law and Finance, and will be presented to the Cabinet after due consultation.

Soni indicated that the third phase of FM Radio licensing will commence early next year, by which time these policy changes would have sailed through.

The Ministry is also proposing a revenue share between music royalty owners and FM stations.

Interestingly, the earlier government view was to limit the FDI for FM radio to 24 per cent, as against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) recommendation of 26 per cent.

Referring to the amendments proposed by her in the Press and Registration of Books Act 1867, Soni said these would facilitate foreign newspapers coming in or Indian edition of foreign newspapers getting printed.

Addressing a session 'The Future of Indian Media and Entertainment', Soni again stressed the need for greater self-regulation by the media to uphold journalistic ethics since the Government had no intention of state-imposed regulation.

Private FM channels, supported by Trai and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), have for long been demanding that they should be allowed to broadcast news on their channels. At present, this is permitted only on the channels run by All India Radio (AIR).

Soni emphasized on the need for having a more robust TV audience measurement system. "We get a lot of complaints about some of the programming on our channels and we need a system where the tastes of the whole country, including the rural areas, are being captured,” she said.

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