In his keynote address on Day 1 of the CII Big Picture Summit in New Delhi, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, assured industry players that the government policies would be supportive and calibrated in order to enhance the modernization and monetization of the sector.
“In phase II of the auction of the frequencies for the radio, there was no provision for broadcasting news. This was changed during the phase III auction, when private radio was allowed to broadcast the news of the All India Radio for a specified time,” he said, hinting that the government was open to the demand of the private broadcasters to have news bulletins.
Talking on the issue of foreign direct investment in the news media sector, he said, “I can’t really say that we are going to make it happen in a given timeframe, but the very fact that we have started thinking about it, means we have started moving ahead with it.”
He mentioned that a lot of initiatives were being taken by the government to support the M&E industry in the country, such as channelizing more advertisements to the digital media like You Tube, outsourcing some of the creative works of Doordarshan and All India Radio to the industry. He added, “We are reducing advertisement in newspapers and spending more on digital to increase our digital strength for future.”
More such steps would be taken in due course. In this regard, he mentioned that plans were underway to revamp the terrestrial broadcast of DD to couple it with internet and DTH and also to outsource the prime time band to increase the quality of the content. So, that there would be opportunities for making local programs based on events happening in smaller towns and rural areas. This would also give a boost to creation of contents, which have local flavour and relevance.
Responding to a suggestion made by the industry to bring down high incidence of tax levied on the M&E industry, the Minister said that the Good and services Tax (GST), which the Government wanted to enact, would have subsumed various taxes incidental on the industry. He hoped that the bill would be passed soon in the interest of the nation.