More than four months after the decision to allow foreign investment in the Indian print media, the guidelines have been issued for non-news and non-current affairs category. Norms for news and current affairs publications will still have to wait. While the guidelines point out that foreign investment will be allowed in technical, scientific and specialty magazines and journals, there is no clear description of specialty magazines.
Publication of Indian editions of foreign journals in these areas has also been permitted. Industry players and media analysts have identified publications related to information technology, architecture and design, automobiles, chemicals, health and nutrition, cement, textiles, transport, lifestyle and fashion, and even golf and horse-racing, as some of the key beneficiaries.
In June this year, the government had decided to allow 74 per cent foreign investment in the sector, on a case-by-case basis. The guidelines state that an application, with a fee of Rs 5,000, must be made to the I&B ministry in the prescribed format. The application will be processed by the I&B, after due inter-ministerial consultations, to decide whether the proposed publication is covered under the category of scientific, technical or specialty magazine, periodical, journal. “Representatives of the concerned ministries/specialist bodies and language experts, as found necessary will be associated in this task.”
The government would also watch the publications, which has got FDI closely to see whether there would be any change in the nature of the publication into a news publication.
In cases where both foreign direct investment and foreign institutional investment is envisaged, the applicant needs to approach the foreign investment promotion board/ Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for clearance after obtaining the no-objection certificate from the I&B ministry. In cases involving only portfolio investment, the applicant may approach the RBI, for further clearance, if any.