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Budget boost for Community Radio in India

Jul 11, 2014

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitely proposed Rs 100 cr fund for Community Radio Stations.

New Delhi: Presenting his maiden budget, India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitely has allocated Rs 100 cr for Community Radio stations. This provision will help to attain the community development objectives.

The fund will be utilised to support 600 new and existing Community Radio stations. The minister informed that around 400 permissions for setting up of Community Radio Stations have been issued till now.  The new scheme is targeted to encourage further growth in this sector and accelerate the Community Radio movement.

Sajan Venniyoor, Member of Community Radio Forum, stated that there was nothing new in this announcement. “To those who assume that the Govt is showering Rs 100 crore on Community Radio every other month, let me hasten to add that the Rs100 crore announced by  Arun Jaitley in his Union Budget is the same Rs 100 crore for Community Radio announced by  Chidambaram in his interim budget in February 2014, which was the same Rs 100 crore announced by ex-Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Manish Tewari  at the CR Sammelan in February 2013.”

“It is good to know that the entire Rs 100 crore was lying unspent with MIB, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting since the beginning of the Plan period 2012, so that it can be announced again next year and very possibly the year after that,” he further stated.

The Centre has proposed to launch a pan India Programme called ‘Digital India’ to strengthen villages through ICTs (Information and Communication Technology). Jaitley said that special focus would be given on supporting software product startups.

Allocation of Rs 100 cr to this sector is a significant investment as a Community Radio serves a specific well defined local community. It is known for broadcasting programmes relevant to the educational, developmental, social and cultural needs of the community which could be used as tools of the new government’s inclusive agenda.

The budget also announced the launch of ‘Kisan’ TV by Doordarsan at the cost of Rs 100 crore. Another 24x7 channel called ‘Arun Prabha’ was announced in the North Eastern region to foster, promote and preserve the region’s rich heritage.

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