Cabinet Approves Over Rs 2,500 Crore Fund To Upgrade Infrastructure Of Doordarshan, All India Radio

Image Credit- Prasar Bharti, Unsplash (Representational)

The Logical Indian Crew

Cabinet Approves Over Rs 2,500 Crore Fund To Upgrade Infrastructure Of Doordarshan, All India Radio

Prasar Bharti, the public broadcaster of India, serves as the most significant source of engagement, information, education, and entertainment for the general population, especially in rural areas, through DD and AIR.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday (January 4) sanctioned a project worth more than ₹ 2,500 crores for Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) in an effort to upgrade the broadcast infrastructure of Prasar Bharti.

Anurag Thakur, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, announced the CCEA-approved 'Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND)' scheme for the central sector with a budget of ₹2,539.61 crore up to 2025-26.

In an official statement, the I&B Ministry stated, "The BIND scheme 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," reported NDTV.

Various Changes Expected In Prasar Bharti

Prasar Bharti, the public broadcaster of India, serves as the most significant source of engagement, information, education, and entertainment for the general population, especially in rural areas, through Doordarshan and AIR. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it remarkably spread health messages and awareness to the public.

The BIND scheme will enable Prasar Bharti to upgrade its facilities significantly with a more robust infrastructure, expanding its coverage to include border and critical areas and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) hotspots while offering viewers high-quality programming.

The ministry said developing high-quality content for both local and foreign audiences is another central area of the programme, as is ensuring viewers have access to a variety of material through expanding the channel capacity of the DTH platform. The project will also include the procurement of OB trucks and the digital upgrade of DD and AIR studios to make them HD-ready.

How Should DD Be 20 Years From Now?

Minister Thakur said, "Prasar Bharti is the public broadcaster...it is not just about profit making. The aim is to ensure information regarding the government's work and schemes reaches people. Different reports have pointed at the quality of content, whether it is Doordarshan or AIR." Adding that both DD and AIR are available on mobile phones, he emphasised, "We are planning how DD should look 20 years from now".

As per the ministry, the BIND scheme will boost the country's AIR FM transmitter coverage to 66 per cent by geographic area, up from a current 59 per cent, and to 80 per cent by population, up from a current 68 per cent coverage. Eight lakhs DD Free Dish DTH set-top boxes (STBs) will also be given out as part of the programme to residents in distant, tribal, LWE, border, and "aspirational" regions.

Also Read: Connecting Communities: This 90-Year-Old Journalist Hand-Delivers Newspapers In Remote Desert Of South Africa


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