The Union Cabinet has approved 26% foreign direct investment (FDI) in digital media.(Mint file)
The Union Cabinet has approved 26% foreign direct investment (FDI) in digital media.(Mint file)

Govt sets Oct 2021 deadline for digital media to reduce foreign funding to 26%

Digital media companies engaged in news and current affairs will have to comply with “the requirements of citizenship of the Board of Directors and of the Chief Executive Officers (by whatever name called)”.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Shishir Gupta
UPDATED ON NOV 16, 2020 03:05 PM IST

Digital media companies that have more than 26% foreign investment will get one year to bring down the share, according to the ministry of information and broadcasting order issued on Monday that outlines the procedure for compliance with India’s foreign funding rules.

According to the government order accessed by Hindustan Times, digital media groups which have foreign investment less than 26% should submit complete details about their shareholding pattern within one month. They will also have to provide details about the directors, promoters and shareholders.

“Entities, which, at present, have an equity structure with foreign investment exceeding 26 per cent would give similar details... within one month and to take necessary steps for bringing down the foreign investment to 26% by 15 October 2021 and seek approval of the ministry of information and broadcasting,” Monday’s order issued by Amarendra Singh, under secretary at the ministry said.

The government’s public notice comes a year after the Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi spelt out a 26% foreign investment limit for entities engaged in uploading or streaming of news and current affairs via digital media.

Any entity which intends to bring fresh foreign investment in the country has to seek prior approval of the central government through the foreign investment facilitation portal of DPIIT.

The ministry has also stipulated that the companies will have to comply with “the requirements of citizenship of the Board of Directors and of the Chief Executive Officers (by whatever name called)”.

The entities are required to obtain security clearance for all foreign personnel likely to be deployed for more than 60 days in a year by way of appointment, contract or consultancy or any other capacity for functioning of the entity prior to their deployment.

For this purpose, the order said, the entities will apply to the ministry of information and broadcasting at least 60 days in advance and the proposed foreign personnel shall be deployed by the entity only after prior approval of this ministry.

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