The Union government has sought recommendation from telecom regulator TRAI on auctioning television channels on lines of FM radio channels, the Lok Sabha was informed today. In a written reply to a question, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said the response of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India was awaited. The move is seen as part of efforts to increase revenue and ensure transparency. At present, an applicant needs to seek permission from the I&B ministry for setting up a new television channel. It also needs clearances from other ministries, including home and electronics and information technology.
The current fee includes Rs 10,000 for uplinking and downlinking facilities, and a Rs two-lakh annual licence fee. Recently, TRAI released a consultation paper on the issues related to uplinking and downlinking of TV channels. The watchdog, in a statement, said the government felt a need to amend some of the norms to ensure healthy growth of the broadcasting sector.
The present norms came into effect five years ago. In a letter to TRAI, the ministry had said “keeping in view the change in technology, market scenarios, and the lessons learnt in the past a few years of their operations, there is need to review/amend some of the provisions of these guidelines to ensure healthy growth of the broadcasting sector.”