Unfazed by the setback to plans for FDI in retail, the government is moving ahead with a proposed hike in the foreign investment cap in different broadcasting services like Direct-to-Home and cable TV networks to a uniform 74%.

The Finance Ministry has given its approval to the draft cabinet note circulated by the Industry Ministry for liberalising the sector, sources said.

Among different segments, 74% foreign direct investment (FDI) would be allowed in the mobile TV, an area of future growth.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Industry Ministry has suggested that FDI limits in the broadcast carriage services providers, including Head-end in the Sky (HITS) must be uniform. HITS is a satellite multiplex service that provides cable channels for cable television operations.

At present, 49% FDI is allowed in cable TV and DTH, while it is 74 percent in HITS.

However, for the TV news channels, FM radios and content provides, the FDI limit will stay at 26%, sources said.

“We support DIPP’s proposal for allowing 74% foreign direct investment (FDI) in broadcast carriage services and 26% in content services,” a senior Finance Ministry official said.

He said uniformity has been proposed keeping in view convergence of technologies in the broadcasting and telecom sectors.

In June last year, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had suggested to raise the FDI for broadcast carriage services like DTH to 74%.

As per an estimate, there are about 106 million households with cable and satellite TVs in India, of which 26 million use DTH and 80 million get feed from the cable network.

The Congress-led coalition government suffered a setback when it had to put on hold its decision to allow 51% FDI in multi-brand retail because of political opposition.

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February 2024