The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj, today said the government had approved the proposal of New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) to start a 24-hour news channel with a foreign equity component of 16.47 per cent, while the application of Star News Broadcasting is still under process.
Swaraj told Rajya Sabha that while NDTV's proposal was cleared in June2002, Star's proposal for starting a 24-hour news channel, also to be uplinked from the country, was still under process.
This is the second project by Star TV that is awaiting government approval, the first being the direct-to-home (DTH) operation in the country.
The government is yet to clear the proposal to start the direct-to-home operation that was submitted in April this year.
She also pointed out that Jain Studios' news channel is 20 per cent foreign owned while in Zee News foreign holding is 57.54 per cent.
According to the present norms all satellite channels irrespective of their ownership, equity structure or management control are at present permitted to uplink from India.
Sources had earlier said that the information and broadcasting ministry plans to take the proposal by the Rupert Murdoch - promoted Star TV to start a 24 hour news channel in India for the consideration of the union cabinet.
The decision was taken as the ministry feels that there is a need for a greater consensus before a decision is taken on the issue.
Star had sought the government in October this year to start a new channel in the country, as its contract with the Delhi - based television production house New Delhi Television (NDTV) to generate news and current affairs content in India comes to an end on March 31, 2003.