The high courts of Delhi and Punjab & Haryana are set to hear two separate petitions over the validity of a rule which, while making it compulsory for media rights holders of sporting events with “national importance” to share live feeds with the public broadcaster, restricts it to only the terrestrial and DD Free Dish platforms.
The restrictions on such retransmission to Prasar Bharati’s own terrestrial network and DD Free Dish DTH service, were imposed by the Supreme Court in August 2017. A legal expert said he doesn’t expect the high courts to give any interim relief to the petitioners in light of the Supreme Court judgement. But since these are public interest litigations, they could spend some time to look for merits.
The petitions argue that restricting the live telecast to the terrestrial and DTH networks of Prasar Bharati defeated the purpose of Section 3 (1) of the Sports Broadcasting Signals (mandatory sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act. The petitioners, Vaibhav Jain in the Delhi HC and Ramesh Kumar in the Punjab & Haryana HC, filed the PILs just ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup, seeking direction on allowing Prasar Bharati to live telecast the matches on its channels available on private cable and DTH platforms.
Both high courts have posted the matter for hearing in late July. The World Cup will end before that on July 14. In its order, the Supreme Court had clarified that sharing of signals with Prasar Bharati was to enable access to consumers who otherwise did not have access and the intention was not to reach consumers who have already subscribed to private cable and DTH networks.
Out of about 180 million homes with TVs in India, 150 million use pay TV services from cable or DTH operators. The rest access the public broadcasters’ DTH or terrestrial services. After the Supreme Court’s order, the government had sought to amend the Act. In October last year, the information and broadcasting ministry proposed to change it to ensure that the events of national importance have the “widest possible reach”. But it put the proposal on hold ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
NEW YORK: The escalating trade war between the US and China is an “opportune time” for India to attract the large multinationals looking for alternative locations outside the Communist country, eminent economist Arvind Panagariya has said.
Speaking at a panel discussion organised by the Consulate General of India in New York, Panagariya strongly called for India to slash tariffs on imported motorcycles and automobiles through “give and take” negotiations with the US.
He said as the large multinationals “are coming out” of China, “it is an opportune time for India to do whatever it will take to bring these multinationals to the Indian shores”.
“This is also a great time for India to begin attracting the large multinationals that are now looking for alternative locations. Their wages have gone up and the trade war with the US has begun to close the access of the multinationals into the US market in a big way,” Panagariya said on Monday.
The US and China have been locked in a bruising trade war since Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items from China in March last year, a move that sparked fears of a global trade war.
US President Donald Trump has already imposed 25 per cent tariffs on USD 250 billion in Chinese imports and China has retaliated with tariffs on US goods.
In response, China imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of American imports.
Panagariya stressed that the US was asking India to open up its markets.
“It is a good thing for India. I would open it unilaterally but here is an opportunity to actually negotiate with the US. Give them something and get something in return,” he said at the event titled ‘Economic Priorities for the New Government’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Panagariya called for undertaking labour law and land acquisition reforms to them more flexible to attract the multinationals.
Panagariya, who served as the first Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog from January 2015 to August 2017, acknowledged that there were “some sticky issues” such as data localisation, but added that other issues such as tariffs on the Harley Davidson motorcycles can be resolved.
“Go zero tariffs on Harley Davidson. What is the problem? How long are you going to punish your own customers – (after) 70 years of protection. Today auto tariffs in India are close to 100 per cent plus. Why, who is it benefiting. Some of these tariffs don’t make sense,” he said.
In February, India slashed the customs duty on imported motorcycles like Harley-Davidson to 50 per cent after US President Donald Trump called it “unfair” and threatened to increase the tariff on import of Indian bikes to the US.
The US President has repeatedly claimed that India imposes “tremendously high” tariffs on American products.
Panagariya emphasised that rather than using tariffs, India can use the exchange rate to its advantage.
“Let the rupee depreciate a bit, it will open the door for your exporters while it also compensates for the tariff liberalisation. This is exactly what we did in the 1990s,” he said, adding that this will help make the Indian goods much more attractive and boost exports.
“I see this completely in India’s interest,” he said.
Panagariya, Director at the Raj Center on Indian Economic Policies at Columbia University, however, sounded a pessimistic note on India’s current trade environment with the US, saying this is a “source of serious worry”.
“You do not want to get into a trade war with the US. India has been generally on the good side of the US, then why head into this,” he said at the event The panel discussion was organised in partnership with the Deepak and Neera Raj Centre for Indian Economic Policies and the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).
Having served for three years as the G-20 Sherpa of India, Panagariya said in his experience with the US, he learnt that Washington “believes only in negotiations – give and take”.
Panagariya’s remarks came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began this three-day visit to India and the two sides are expected to discuss economic and trade ties that are witnessing signs of strain.
The US has terminated India’s designations as beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme.
“India has implemented a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on United States commerce,” the Office of the US Trade Representative said in March this year.