New Delhi : Broadcasters have knocked on the doors of I&B minister Arun Jaitley and home minister Rajnath Singh against inordinate delay by the home ministry in renewing licences.
The representatives of broadcasters informed Jaitley that their applications for new channels, several of them dating back to 2012, have not been processed, which has led to rethink on them. I&B ministry officials said that MHA has not responded to letters to expedite the process by putting in place a common methodology wherein broadcasters with no problematic background can be given easy clearances with an undertaking that their licenses could be revoked in case the IB reports were adverse.
However, MHA officials say that during a meeting of the broadcasters with Singh last week, they have been told that home ministry has advised the MIB to clear all pending clearances with the condition that the approval will be revoked if an adverse intelligence report comes subsequently.
MHA officials say there has been a sudden rush of nearly 300 renewal cases of channels and 600 cases of permissions for Multiple System Operators (MSOs) from January till date this year leaving the security machinery overwhelmed.
“There is no pendency with us. We have simply asked MIB to grant all clearances pending the intelligence reports,” a MHA official said. But MIB officials say nearly 600 MSO cases are pending with MHA. “There is no communication on what they are doing about it. Reminders have been sent but with no response. MHA has asked for a 45 days time to come out with a policy that could club the clearance procedure and make them simple,” a senior MIB official said.
The MSOs, it is understood have told the ministry that the broadcasting industry changes very fast and if they have to wait for three years to start a channel, the content have to be revised to meet contemporary needs.