Wednesday, July 13, 2005


18:6 IST
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has formulated a policy on expansion of FM radio broadcasting services through private agencies (Phase-II). As in the Phase-I policy, the objectives of Phase-II shall be to attract private agencies to supplement and complement the efforts of All India Radio by operationalizing radio stations that provide programmes with local content and relevance, improve the quality of fidelity in reception and generation, encouraging participation by local talent and generating employment.
Some of the salient features of the Policy are as under:
Permission shall be granted on the basis of One-Time Entry Fees (OTEF) quoted by the bidders (Closed Tender System). The Ministry of I&B would separately issue detailed tender notice in due course enabling the interested parties to participate.
The process of granting permission for new participants under Phase 2 shall consist of two rounds. The first round shall be for pre-qualification and only applicants qualifying in accordance with prescribed eligibility criteria given at item no. 3 below will proceed to the next round for making financial bids for specific channels in different cities.
Participants of Phase 1, who exercise their option to be considered for Phase 2, including those licensees who are eligible for automatic migration for channels already operationalised by them, shall be eligible to be considered for the pre-qualification round for fresh tendering under Phase 2, subject to their fulfilling the prescribed eligibility criteria.
Only Companies registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956 shall be eligible for bidding and obtaining permission for FM Radio channels.
Bidding will be conducted at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai for the respective four regions of the country with dates fixed at weekly intervals. Since companies will be eligible to participate in bidding for channels in all the four regions, their financial competence shall be assessed on the basis of the following indicative criteria:
o Minimum Net Worth required for one channel per center in all regions:
§ D category Centers: Rs. 50 Lakhs.
§ C category Centers: Rs. 1 Crore.
§ B category Centers: Rs. 2 Crore.
§ A or A+ category Centers: Rs. 3 Crore.
§ All Centers: Rs. 10 Crore.
o However, each company may intimate in writing the maximum number of channels in different categories of cities it desires to bid for and its eligibility will be determined accordingly. In case the applicant does not wish to intimate these details, the applicant company should have the minimum net worth of Rs. 10 Crore.
Every pre-qualified applicant may apply for allotment of only one channel in each city through a separate financial bid for payment of OTEF for each channel.
Annual Fee shall be charged @ 4% of gross revenue, for the year or @ 10% of the Reserve OTEF limit for the concerned city, whichever is higher. Gross Revenue for this purpose would be the gross revenue without deduction of taxes.
Every applicant shall be allowed to run only one channel per city provided the total number of channels allocated to the entity is within the overall ceiling of 15% of all allocated channels in the country.
No entity shall hold permission for more than 15% of all channels allotted in the country. In the event of allotment of more channels than prescribed, the entity will have the discretion to decide which channels it would like to surrender and the government shall refund its OTEF for these channels in full.
No news and current affairs programs are permitted under the Policy (Phase-II).
Every permission holder shall follow the AIR Program and Advertising Code as amended from time to time.
In the event of the government announcing the setting up of a Broadcast Regulatory Authority, by whatever name called, and the content regulations are modified, the permission holder shall be obliged to conform to the revised guidelines.
Further details on the policy are available on pib website i.e., here for full document Policy on Expansion of FM Radio Broadcasting Services through Private Agencies (Phase-II)