| 24 May 2022
Jaitley: Keen on early expansion for FM but wants to re-think about permitting news

NEW DELHI: Even as the Government wants to commence the expansion of Phase III for FM Radio to bring in additional revenue, there appears to be a re-think on the question permitting these channels to carry All India Radio news bulletins.

While confirming that he was keen to start the process as soon as possible in the current financial year, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley said about the proposal to allow broadcast of news on private FM radio stations, "Let me consider this at length."

The Minister said his Ministry and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) are considering aspects related to this process, he said. "Some aspects are being considered between I&B ministry and the regulator. And I would like to see that happen quite early. If I could have my way, it should be in this financial year because I now speak in both capacities. March 31, and some more revenue to the government has some relevance to me," said Jaitley,

More than 800 new FM radio channels are proposed to be allowed to come up in nearly 294 cities across the country under Phase III.

While the previous government had cleared the carriage of AIR news bulletins on private FM channels and even given the option to the existing 245 FM channels to opt for Phase III, it had halted the process of auction in view of the elections.

Jaitley's predecessor Prakash Javadekar had not only promised early e-auctions, but said that the Government would consider what can be broadcast by the private FM channels on their own other than AIR news bulletins.