NEW DELHI: The guidlines for starting Community Radio Stations (CRSs) has been revised, informed the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting on Tuesday. Under the revised guidelines, an eligible organisation functioning in multiple districts can set up a maximum of six stations in the areas of its operation.
Advertising time for the service has also been increased from 7 minutes per hour to 12 minutes per hour. According to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the rate of advertisement has also been revised from Rs 52 per 10 seconds to Rs 74 per 10 seconds.
Reasoning the amendments in the policy guidelines, the ministry stated that it is to ensure financial sustainability of CRSs and growth of the radio sector.
Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur, on Tuesday, released the revised policy guidelines on the occasion of the ‘World Radio Day’ at the two-day Regional Community Radio Sammelan (South) held at Anna University in Chennai.
Highlighting the importance of community radio, Thakur said that CRSs offer a platform where all types of content are disseminated in localised dialects and regional languages. He also pointed out that local, context-specific issues are raised and discussed at these stations in local idioms.
“The Government is committed to its mantra of "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas." It is important to realise the importance of community radio in this direction. Our Prime Minister in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ has shown through personal example how important the medium of radio is. Each CRS is a reflection of the local model that has been built over the years and experiential learnings that have been collected and shared,” he said.
The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L Murugan, also present at the occasion, said that CRS provides a platform to the silenced voices.
"These stations are one of the best ways to reach out intimately and directly to the people as these stations create locally relevant programmes useful to the community," he added.
Besides the revision of guidelines, initial time period for the Grant of Permission Agreement (GOPA) has also been revised to 10 years.
“Validity of Letter of Intent issued to an Organisation has been fixed to one year. A buffer of three months is also given to the applicant in the case of any unforeseen circumstances. The timeline for the complete application process is fixed,” said the ministry.
India’s first Community Radio was inaugurated in the year 2004 at the Anna University campus. Currently, there are 481 CRSs in India, and in the last two years, more than 133 CRSs have become operational.