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Cabinet Committee approves Broadcasting Infrastructure scheme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the proposal of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting regarding Central Sector Scheme “Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development” (BIND) at a cost of ₹2,539.61 crore for infrastructure development of Prasar Bharati i.e. All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD). 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 organization.

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 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 be done as 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% by geographical area and 80% by population up from 59% and 68% 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.

In addition to enhancing the scope of public broadcasting, the Project for modernization and augmentation of broadcast infrastructure also has the potential to generate indirect employment by way of manufacturing and services related to supply and installation of broadcast equipment. Content generation and content innovation for AIR & DD has the potential of indirect employment of persons with varied experience of different media fields in the content production sector including TV/Radio production, transmission and associated media related services. Further, the project for expansion of the reach of DD Free Dish is expected to generate employment opportunities in the manufacturing of the DD Free Dish DTH Boxes.

Government of India reiterates its commitment to the development, modernization and strengthening of Doordarshan and Akashvani (Prasar Bharati) infrastructure and services, which is a continuous process.

CT Bureau

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