| 16 Jan 2021
Information Memorandum issued for FM Radio Phase III e-auctions

NEW DELHI: Adhering to its promise of commencing the e-auction for FM Radio Phase III, the Government today issued the Information Memorandum which lays down the process for the e-auction of 135 channels of Private FM Radio in 69 existing cities of Phase II in the first batch.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued the memorandum in continuation of the Union Cabinet’s approval on 16 January for conduct of FM Phase-Ill auctions for these channels and migration (renewal) of Private FM Radio licenses from Phase-II to Phase-III.

The Memorandum comprises the rules and timetable applicable to the auction and is aimed at informing prospective bidders about the steps they needed to take in order to pre-qualify and take part in the forthcoming auction.

The Ministry clarified that the Memorandum was not intended to form any part of the basis of any investment. Further, it neither constituted an offer or invitation to participate in the auctions, nor was the basis of any contract which might be concluded in relation to the auction. It has been put in public domain to merely supplement and update Phase III Policy guidelines and to acquaint the prospective bidders with the design of ascending e-auction.

The Ministry has also informed that the recipients of the Memorandum intending to participate in the forthcoming auctions should note that the Ministry would separately issue a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for participation in the Auction which would be definitive and would take precedence.

Issuance of the Information Memorandum is part of the process of FM Phase III Policy for expansion of FM Radio Broadcasting through private agencies, with the objectives of attracting the agencies to supplement and complement the efforts of All India Radio by operationalising radio stations that provide programmes with local content and relevance, improving the quality of fidelity in reception and generation, encouraging local talent and generating employment.

The Memorandum is for information purpose only and has no binding force. Broadly, it outlines the Government’s expectations in relation to the proposed auction. All information contained in it is subject to updating, modification and amendment and does not purport to be complete.

The Ministry has issued it to facilitate and encourage potential new entrants to the Indian Broadcasting sector, as well as existing operators, to take an informed decision while participating in the auction.

Details of the Information Memorandum are available on the Ministry’s website.

Meanwhile, the government amended para 31 relating to migration to Phase III by stipulating that the guidelines will be applicable only to the existing permission holders who will be asked to sign a fresh GOPA in the proscribed format. The cut-off date for automatic migration to Phase III will be 31 March 2015. Those who decide not to opt will continue to be governed by the original license under the FM Phase II policy regime.