Saturday 5 December 2020
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Ministry of I&B asks foreign-sponsored digital news platforms to provide ownership details

The I&B ministry has made clear that the entities are required to obtain security clearance for all foreign personnel likely to be deployed for more than 60 days in a year

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Politics India Ministry of I&B asks foreign-sponsored digital news platforms to provide ownership details

News websites and other digital platforms providing news and current affairs with a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 26% have been asked by the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry to provide details of their ownership pattern in a month’s time.

Entities which have FDIs over 26% will have to bring it down by October 2021.

The I&B ministry on 16 November issued a public notice asking entities involved in uploading or streaming of news and current affairs through digital media to comply with the directive.

According to the notice, entities with foreign investments below 26% may furnish an intimation to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting within one month from 16 November, providing them with details of the company or entity and its shareholding pattern along with the names and addresses of its directors and shareholders.

It sought the names and addresses of promoters and significant beneficial owners.

A confirmation on compliance with pricing, documentation and reporting requirements under the FDI Policy, Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) Rules, 2019 and Foreign Exchange Management (Mode of Payment and Reporting of Non-debt Instruments) Regulations, 2019 has to be provided.

The ministry has sought the companies’ Permanent Account Number (PAN) and the latest audited or unaudited profit and loss statement and balance sheet along with the auditor report.

Entities, which, at present, have an equity structure with foreign investments exceeding 26% would have to give similar details within one month from 16 November, and “take necessary steps for bringing down the foreign investment to 26% by 15 October, 2021”, the ministry has said.

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 the DPIIT.

Every entity has to comply with the requirement of citizenship of Board of Directors and of the Chief Executive Officers (by whatever name called).

The I&B ministry has made clear that 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 entities will apply to Ministry of Information & 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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