Cabinet Nod For Rs 2,500-Cr Scheme To Raise Infra Of DD, AIR

The expansion of the reach of DD Free Dish is also expected to generate employment opportunities in the manufacturing of DTH boxes, he added.

Announcing approval of the Central scheme to boost public-sector broadcasting in the country, the Union government on Wednesday announced plans to expand coverage of All India Radio’s FM channels to more than 80 percent of the population, and distribute 8 lakh DD Free Dish DTH set-top boxes (DTBs) to people living in remote areas, reported Indian Express.

These, the government clarified, include areas with tribal populations, Left-Wing Extremism-affected regions as well as border areas.

The plan is part of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry’s scheme Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND), with an outlay of Rs 2,539 crore for 2022-26, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said during an interaction with the media.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the proposal on BIND, aimed at the infrastructure development of the Prasar Bharati, which includes AIR and DD.

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The BIND scheme is the vehicle for providing financial support to Prasar Bharati for expenses related to the expansion and upgrade of its broadcasting infrastructure, content development, and civil work related to the organization, the BJP leader added.

Mr. Thakur further said another priority area of the scheme is to develop high-quality content for both domestic and international viewers and to ensure the availability of diverse content to accommodate more channels.

The purchase of OB (outside broadcast) vans and digital upgrade of DD and AIR studios to make them HD-ready will also be done as part of the project, it was announced.

Doordarshan at present operates 36 TV channels, including 28 regional ones; AIR runs more than 500 broadcasting centers. The BIND scheme will increase the coverage of AIR FM transmitters in the country to 66% by geographical area and 80% in terms of population, up from 59% and 68%, respectively, the government said.

Mr. Thakur further said modernizing and expanding the broadcast infrastructure also has the potential to generate indirect employment by way of manufacturing and services related to the supply and installation of equipment.

The expansion of the reach of DD Free Dish is also expected to generate employment opportunities in the manufacturing of DTH boxes, he added.

As the country’s public broadcaster, Prasar Bharati engages to inform, educate, entertain and engage people, especially in remote areas, through DD and AIR, the government said in a statement. It said that the public broadcaster played a key role in communicating public health messages and awareness to the people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Content generation and content innovation for AIR and DD has the potential to generate indirect employment of people with varied experience in different media fields in content production sectors such as TV/radio production, transmission, and associated media-related services, the statement pointed out.

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