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Minimum net worth requirement relaxed for broadcasters
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has relaxed the minimum net worth requirement for broadcasters seeking permissions for the uplinking and downlinking of TV channels.
In a memorandum, MIB stated that it took this decision after receiving representations from broadcasters who are facing difficulties in meeting the minimum net worth requirement as per the revised Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022 issued on November 11, 2022.
The memorandum said, “This Ministry has received representations from broadcasters who are facing difficulties in meeting the minimum net worth requirement as per the revised Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Satellite Television Channels in India, 2022 issued on November 9, 2022.
In the Policy Guidelines of 2011, relaxation was provided to the existing permission holders, allowing them to be governed by the terms and conditions of the Policy Guidelines, 2005 regarding the minimum net worth requirement. However, no such relaxation has been provided in the current guidelines, causing hardship to many entities having net worth much below the required net worth as mentioned in the new Policy Guidelines of 2022. After examining the matter, the Ministry has decided to provide certain relaxations to remove the genuine difficulties being faced by various entities in respect of the requirement of increasing the net worth in a short period of time.
It has now been decided that the entities which are existing permission holders under the Policy Guidelines should show demonstrable and verifiable efforts to meet the required net worth as per the Policy Guidelines of 2022. The difference between the net worth required as per the guidelines of 2022 and the net worth required as per the guidelines applicable on 08.11.2022 shall be computed. The net worth must be increased to meet 25% and 75% of the aforesaid difference by 31.12.2023 and 30.09.2024 respectively. In any case, all existing permission holders must achieve the minimum net worth requirement as per guidelines of 2022 by 31.12.2024.
Pending applications received before 09.11.2022, such as permission for a new channel, renewal of permission of a channel, change in name and logo of a channel, change in substantial shareholding (change of 10% or more), etc. from existing permission holders and new applicants; shall be processed only on the achievement of the target of 25% mentioned in Para 3 above, subject to the condition that there is no change in the beneficial ownership of the entity. If the material available on record indicates that there is a change in the beneficial ownership of the entity, no relaxation shall be provided. Once permitted, the permission holders shall also meet the requisite net worth criteria and timelines as mentioned in Para 3 above.
Entities who are not existing permission holders and which apply for the first time after the issuance of the new guidelines i.e. on or after November 9, 2022, must comply with the prescribed net worth requirement prescribed as per the Policy Guidelines of November 8, 2022 without any relaxation.
This OM is issued under Clause 37 of the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines, 2022 and has the approval of the Competent Authority in the Ministry.” BCS Bureau