The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released its recommendations on foreign investment limits for the broadcasting sector. The recommendations also cover the procedure for approval and suggest that within the composite foreign investment limit of 74 per cent, wherever applicable for carriage services, foreign investments up to 49 per cent may be permitted under the automatic route, beyond which FIPB approval would be required as prescribed for the telecom sector.
For content services, it has been suggested that FIPB approval should be required for foreign investments. The methodology for calculation of foreign investments in different segments of broadcasting is also proposed to be standardised. In this direction it has been recommended that methodology used in the telecom sector for calculation of foreign investments should be adopted for the broadcasting sector.
Foreign investments have an important role as a source of funding in the development of the sector, as also for bringing in new technology, international best practices, and access to export markets. However, the extent of foreign investment is also conditioned by considerations such as national security, preserving the socio-cultural fabric of the country, protection of domestic industry, etc.