Companies & Sectors
Bring out media policy, relook broadcast licensing: Council

The Sectoral Innovation Council recommended that the government should expedite a consensus on developing an alternative to TAM so that an appropriate mechanism is developed with industry participation to study audience viewing

New Delhi: Bringing out a national media policy, developing an alternative to TAM ratings, relook into broadcast licensing procedures and regulation of media education are among 64 key recommendations made by Sectoral Innovation Council of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), reports PTI.
Formed under the chairpersonship of former Secretary Asha Swarup in July 2011, the Council submitted its report to I&B minister Ambika Soni, becoming the first amongst various such panels to submit its report.
Speaking on the occasion, I&B minister Ambika Soni said that the issues deliberated upon by the Council would be looked into and the recommendations would act as a roadmap for the future.
One of the important recommendations of the council is to bring out a national media policy that addresses the new media landscape.
The council has sought a comprehensive media policy that integrates all existing media segments and addresses the emergent issues, officials said.
The Innovation Council in its report has also asked the government to look into the existing licensing procedures and requirements to ensure further liberalisation and reforms in the broadcasting sector.
The council in its report has held that content innovation is required in the radio segment which would be possible only if the government comes up with a separate licensing model for niche channels.
The report has also suggested arrangements under which Community Radio stations would be able to provide content to All India Radio(AIR), which could provide training in content creation, management and operation of stations to the staff of these channels.
The Council has also held that digitalisation in Doordarshan and AIR was likely to release airwaves which after utilisation in-house could be used to create a public service broadcasting fund exclusively for this sector.
The Council has also recommended a National Film Policy that will address the role of the Government vis-a-vis the private sector. Film Institutes in the country may be upgraded to Centres of Excellence, it said.
The council has also said that the government must have a national policy for animation, gaming and visual effects. The Government has been asked to go for co-production treaties in animation sector to ensure inflow of international projects.
Ministry could also consider rope in the Children's Film Society and Doordarshan to produce animated content and create Indian Intellectual Property, the report says.
The Council has also pitched for a reliable single source data on all mediums of advertising, which should be made available by the Government so that advertisers are able to take decisions on reliable data.
The Council recommended that the government should expedite a consensus on developing an alternative to TAM so that an appropriate mechanism is developed with industry participation to study audience viewing and listening behaviour and bring out reports on weekly basis.
Government has also been asked to regulate media education to ensure orderly growth of higher education.
The Council has said that like medical and technical education, Media Education be regulated by a new organisation known as Media Education Council, which should be a part of I&B ministry. 
The Media Education Council should be assigned the task of setting up curriculum for all levels so that standardised curriculum with national accreditation becomes a possibility, the council has said.
The council has also pointed the need to make Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Film and Television Institute of India and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute into real centres of excellence.
The government should reformat the course curriculum, improve faculty of the institutes, the report said and added that these institutions could either be separate universities or become a part of one central university.
National Awards for Innovation in different segments of M&E Sector be instituted by the ministry and new media should be utilized for campaigns by the Government, the council has recommended.
The Sectoral Innovation Council has also held that e-mode transactions should be a priority for the functions of DAVP, RNI, CBFC and licensing activities of the government for ensuring transparency.


S&P lowers outlook of Tata Steel, UK unit to negative

The rating agency said it may lower the rating on Tata Steel if the company’s consolidated operating performance does not recover in line with its expectations

New Delhi: Standard & Poor’s (S&P) on Thursday lowered the outlook of Tata Steel and its UK-based subsidiary Tata Steel UK Holdings (TSUKH) to ‘negative’ from 'stable' citing continued weak performance, reports PTI.

“We assess Tata Steel on a consolidated basis, including Tata Steel UK Holdings (TSUKH), which represents about half of the company’s total consolidated assets. We expect the company’s consolidated profit margin to continue to be weak, resulting in its debt-to-EBITDA ratio staying above 4 times,” S&P said in a statement.

The ratings agency said it expected the company’s profit margins to improve when the “company’s India operations receive the full benefit of a recently commissioned 3 million tonne annual capacity”.

These benefits are expected to accrue only in the fiscal year ending 31 March 2014, it added.

S&P has also affirmed its ‘BB’ long-term corporate credit rating on Tata Steel and its ‘BB’ issue rating on the company’s senior unsecured notes.

‘BB’ generally indicates less vulnerability in the near-term but faces major ongoing uncertainties to adverse business, financial and economic conditions.

At the same time, it also lowered the recovery rating on TSUKH’s 3.53 billion pound bank loan to '2’ from ‘1’ and the issue rating to ‘BB-’ from ‘BB’, the statement said.

“We have revised the outlooks to reflect the poor performance of Tata Steel’s wholly-owned European subsidiary, TSUKH,” said S&P’s credit analyst Suzanne Smith.

The rating agency said it may lower the rating on Tata Steel if the company’s consolidated operating performance does not recover in line with its expectations.

This is likely to be due to further slowing in the European operations, it said adding, “A double dip in the European economy or worsening steel industry conditions in India would result in EBITDA per tonne of about $300 or lower, further hurting Tata Steel’s financial ratios.”

S&P said it may revise the outlook to stable when it expected the company to improve its operating performance in line with its earlier expectations, resulting in a ratio of adjusted debt to EBITDA of about four times and funds from operations to adjusted debt of more than 15%.

“In our view, the European steel industry will continue to face soft demand and excess steel-making capacity for the next one to two years. We therefore expect TSUKH to continue to have a very low margin of 2.3% in the fiscal year ending 31 March 2013,” it added.

Limited pricing flexibility, slower-than-expected sales growth at the India operations following brownfield capacity expansion, and lower volumes in Europe will keep EBITDA margin at about 12% in fiscal 2013.”

S&P said “We also expect Tata Steel to generate negative free operating cash flow of Rs6,000 crore in fiscal 2013, resulting in only a gradual recovery in the company's financial metrics”.

We expect the ratio of debt to EBITDA to recover to 4.5 times in fiscal 2013 and 3.5 times in fiscal 2014, it added.

Saying that the improvements will be mostly driven by growth in India operations, the agency assessed Tata Steel’s liquidity as ‘adequate’, and stated that Tata Steel has adequate resources and willingness to ensure that liquidity at TSUKH is also adequate.



ashok sen

5 years ago

Tata Steel U.K. is a disaster

Tatas should get out, otherwise the indian outfit would keep suffering.The story here is quite different to Tata Motors, which has a demand outside U.K.;mainly in China.
The steel unfortunately can sell in europe primarily, where for a long time to come,the demad is going to be poor.

This buy of Corus,was a terrible mistake by Tatas.The difficulty,in these terrible times for european industry, will be to find a buyer to pay at least half of what Tatas paid for the purchase

Builder association requests independent regulator for cement industry

According to BAI, all free markets needed a regulator not only to regulate the sector but to expedite grievances of others

Madurai: The Builders' Association of India (BAI) has suggested setting up an independent regulator for the cement industry on the lines of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), following recent developments, reports PTI.
The Regulator should have quasi-judicial authority, BAI trustee DL Desai said. He told reporters in Madurai that the Competition Commission of India's penalty of Rs6,300 crore on 11 cement companies last month for violating provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 was a landmark judgement under the act.
He suggested CCI follow the trend set by its sister bodies like tribunals of Income tax, sales tax and Excise Departments and direct cement companies to deposit 50% of the fine before accepting their petition.
The BAI would oppose tooth and nail any petition from cement companies seeking a stay on recovery of the penalty. The development in this case, Desai said, would be path breaking in fighting cartelisation in vital commodity sectors.
According to him the fine of Rs6,400 crore was meagre compared to profits earned by the industry with an installed capacity of 320 million tonnes, with the present demand standing at 250 MT. CCI's penalty on them was only 0.5 times their profits in 2009-10 and 2010-11, he said.
He pointed out that even the Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by Shantha Kumar had concluded that price escalation in the cement sector was profit-driven and had recommended setting up a regulator.
All free markets needed a regulator not only to regulate the sector but to expedite grievances of others, he said.


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