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Guidelines for FDI in print by mid-November

28-October-2002
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Guidelines for FDI in print by mid-November

The government hopes to put in place the guidelines for foreign direct investment (FDI) in news and current affairs print media and other publications before the winter session of Parliament beginning mid-November.

Four months after the Cabinet gave its nod to allow foreign direct investment in the sector, the government is in the process of finalising guidelines separately for current affairs print media and non-news publications, which includes medical and technical journals.

Information and broadcasting ministry sources said there was no question of increasing the cap of 26 per cent in the news sector. Finalising the guidelines for foreign direct investment in this sector might take longer because of more safeguards and complications.

An inter-ministerial committee is proposed to be set up to examine the nature and categorisation of non-news and non-current affairs publications. The foreign direct investment cap is 74 per cent against 26 per cent in the news sector.

It is proposed that the committee, to be chaired by information and broadcasting joint secretary, will have representatives from the home and finance ministries, media and specialists.

An undertaking would be taken from the publisher that the nature of the magazine would not be changed and any violation of this would be viewed seriously by the government, the sources said. The approval will be given to publications and not to a group.

The committee will also take a view on which publications are to be given permission though purely skilled magazines will get approvals easily, while "grey" areas like political journals will have to be examined.

In case of a publishing house wanting to bring out an Indian edition of a non-news, non-current affairs publication, approval is likely to be granted directly.

However, if a foreign institutional investor is picking up stake in an Indian venture to fund its Indian edition, such applications would be given a no-objection certificate and sent to the Reserve Bank of India for clearance.

In the third scenario, if a known foreign partner wants to bring in foreign direct investment, such cases will get a no-objection certificate and then will be referred to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.

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