The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the way for conducting the auction of 683 channels in 236 cities in subsequent batches. It will usher in new/enhanced experience of FM radio in more cities.
First and second batch of e-auctions of private FM radio stations under Phase-III of the FM Policy Guidelines, as approved by the Cabinet in 2011, were conducted in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The government had sold 97 channels in 56 cities in the first batch of e-auctions while 66 channels in 48 cities were sold in second batch.
With the roll out of the third batch auctions a large number of those cities across the country will be benefitted where there are no private FM radio channels, which include several cities in border areas of J&K and North-East States, where the population is less than one lakh. This batch of auction will also cover cities in districts, which are badly affected by Left Wing Extremism. It will provide FM radio coverage to new cities besides better content choice to the listeners.
With the complete roll-out of FM Phase-III auctions, all the 29 States and 6 out of the 7 UTs (except Dadra & Nagar Haveli) will be covered by private FM radio broadcasting. This is also likely to generate direct and indirect employment to more than 10,000 persons on a pan India basis. These auctions will yield an estimated revenue of more than Rs 1,100 crore to the government.
In order to ensure complete transparency, the Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending (SMRA) process is being adopted.