Industry body Assocham has asked the government to roll out the next phase of the FM licencing policy to add over 780 radio channels to the country's airwaves and has also sought an increase of the FDI limit in the sector.
"Success of the FM radio industry and its popularity and access would increase, provided it is broadbased, for which the FM Phase-III Policy needs to be unveiled as soon as possible," the chamber said.
There are 172 FM radio channels of state-owned All-India Radio and 251 private channels in the country. The government earned revenue of Rs 133 crore between 2006 and September, 2009, from the private channels.
To further utilise the frequency spectrum earmarked for private FM radio broadcasting, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is making efforts to launch the Private FM Phase–III policy.
"The policy, if unveiled, would expand and broadbase the spread of FM channels to a large number of cities and towns as its popularity has already grown in more than 200 towns for which licences were issued as per earlier policies," Assocham said.
It also wants the foreign investment limit in the sector to increased to 49 per cent from the present 20 per cent.
Assocham further said in the Phase-III policy for FM, licencees should have the liberty to create their own news content, with proper infrastructure in place.
In June, 2005, Cabinet had approved the notification of the Phase-II policy on FM Radio Broadcasting Services through Private Agencies.