The Union Cabinet on Thursday is expected to take two major policy decisions -- extending FM radio to new areas and increase the annual MPs local area development fund from Rs 2 to Rs 5 crore.
Under the FM phase-III policy, the government wants to extend the service to Jammu and Kashmir, north-eastern areas and Andaman and Nicobar Islands and smaller cities. As many as 700 new channels are expected to be auctioned in phase-III covering most of the cities having population of more than 10 lakh.
In the new FM policy, the Information and Broadcasting ministry has proposed special incentive of 15% relaxation in license fee to set up channels on borders areas in J&K and north-east.
The big change expected in the new policy is to allow private FM channels to run news sources from government broadcasters All India Radio and Doordarshan. Also, the channels will be allowed to set up their own transmission facilities as against existing provision of using Prasar Bharati resources.
According to a study by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and PricewaterhouseCoopers Indian FM radio industry was worth Rs 1,200-crore industry by 2010.
The government had allocated 337 new FM channels in two phases earlier till 2006.
The Cabinet will also consider a proposal from Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation to increase MPLAD and to make it operational from April 2, 2011. An announcement in this regard was made in the Union budget by Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee.
The Cabinet will also examine the recommendations of Majithia Wage Board for journalists and a special industrial package for Jammu and Kashmir.