Community Radio Station in India to get maximum Rs 7.5 lakh per year under scheme announced in Interim Budget
Following the announcement by Finance Minister P Chidambaram about a new plan scheme with an allocation of Rs 100 crore to promote community radio stations, the Government has issued detailed guidelines for the scheme.
The new scheme "Supporting Community Radio Movement in India" for providing financial assistance to Community Radio Stations under the component "Community Radio Support Scheme" (CRSS) under the 12th Plan is aimed at strengthen new and existing CR Stations with resources, capacity and technology so that they could provide access and voice to marginalized communities; promoting growth of CRS, especially in remote and rural areas, so that people living in these areas could have access to a meaningful medium of broadcast; and promoting socio-economic and cultural development of communities as CRS is a powerful medium for social mobilization.
A total of just 161 community radio stations were operational by the government's own admission as on 1 December last year. A total of 223 applications were under process and 616 applications had been rejected.
A total of 1277 applications had been received by the government since 2004 till 1 December. A total of 438 letters of intent had been issued and and 194 grant of permission agreements had been signed.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry while issuing the Guidelines noted that the problem of lack of financial resources for CRS exists all over the world.
The Ministry said in spite of several efforts to streamline the permission process, the growth of Community Radios in the country has 'somewhat remained moderate'. The number of operational CRS in India at present is 'rather disappointing keeping in views its size and population'.
One reason for the slow growth in this sector can be attributed to lack of resources with Non-Government Organizations to meet the capital cost of setting up CRS and hand holding. Their capacity to mobilise resources is extremely limited. It is perhaps time to think of a mechanism to channelise financial assistance to genuine grass roots organisations to enable them set up CRS.
Community Radios in India were started after the first policy for Community Radios was approved in the year 2002. This policy allowed only Educational Institutions to set up Community Radios. This policy was broad-based in 2006 when gross-roots organizations like NGOs and other Not-for-Profit organizations were also allowed to set up Community Radios in India. This policy brought a paradigm shift