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Cabinet panel approves infra development, expansion of AIR, DD

FM coverage of AIR will be increased to cover more than 80 per cent of the country’s population.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the proposal of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting regarding Central Sector Scheme ‘Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development’ (BIND) at a cost of Rs 2,539.61 crore for infrastructure development of Prasar Bharati, that is, All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD).

As per an official statement, the ‘Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development’ scheme of the Ministry is the vehicle for providing financial support to Prasar Bharati for expenses related to expansion and upgradation of its broadcasting infrastructure, content development and civil work related to the organisation.

Prasar Bharati, as the public broadcaster of the country, is the most important vehicle of information, education, entertainment and engagement for the people especially in the remote areas of the country through Doordarshan and All India Radio. Prasar Bharati played a stellar role in communicating public health messages and awareness to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The BIND scheme will enable the public broadcaster to undertake a major upgradation of its facilities with better infrastructure which will widen its reach, including in the LWE, border and strategic areas and provide high quality content to the viewers.

Another major priority area of the scheme is the development of high-quality content for both domestic and international audience and ensuring availability of diverse content to the viewers by upgradation of capacity of DTH platform to accommodate more channels. Purchase of OB vans and digital upgradation of DD and AIR Studios to make them HD ready will be also done as a part of the project.

At present, Doordarshan operates 36 TV channels including 28 regional channels and All India Radio operates more than 500 broadcasting centres. The Scheme will increase coverage of AIR FM transmitters in the country to 66 per cent by geographical area and 80 per cent by population up from 59 per cent and 68 per cent respectively. The Scheme also envisages free distribution of over 8 lakh DD Free Dish STBs to people living in remote, tribal, LWE and border areas.

The content generation and content innovation for AIR and DD has the potential of indirect employment of persons with varied experience of different media fields in the content production sector including TV and Radio production, transmission and associated media related services, said the statement.