NEW DELHI: A Planned Scheme of "Supporting Community
Movement in India" has been conceived to provide grants
to Community Radio Stations in the range of Rs 100,000 to
Rs 1.5 million depending on the purpose for which the grant
Under this scheme, a provision has been made to award grants
for infrastructure/ equipment to scale the growth of new community
radio stations especially in remote and rural areas that have
little access to media as well as stations managed by disadvantaged
and marginalised communities.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee for Information Technology,
while welcoming the move, wanted the Information and Broadcasting
to take up the matter urgently with the Planning Commission
for its early clearance the plan is yet to receive in-principle
The Ministry has requested a grant of Rs 1.5 billion. While
the scheme has been sent to Planning Commission for in-principle
approval, an amount of Rs 50 million had been allocated in
Budget Estimates 2012-13, out of which Rs 30 million has been
earmarked for funding and Rs 20 million for IEC (Information,
Education and Communication) activities.
Asked why only Rs 50 million had been sanctioned when the
Ministry had sought Rs 1.5 billion, the Ministry told the
Committee that more funds will be requested after in principle
approval and the Ministry is in touch with the Planning Commission
in this connection.
Apart from taking up the issue of adequate funds for the Scheme
during the Twelfth plan with Planning Commission, efforts
should also be made for full utilisation of Rs 50 million
allocated for the year 2012-13.
Under the scheme, provision has been made to award grants
for infrastructure/equipment to scale the growth of new CRS
especially in remote and rural areas that have little access
to media, as well as stations managed by disadvantaged and
Engineering Consultant India Ltd. (BECIL), a public sector
enterprise under the Ministry has designed cost effective
transmitters and antenna for CR stations. BECIL also helps
CRS in installation and maintenance throughout the country.
The Committee said it was of the "strong view that lack
of financial support being a major hurdle in way of CR expansion,
the Scheme will definitely bring good relief and encourage
those applicants who refrained from applying due to financial
A Working Group set up by the Ministry to suggest a mechanism
to provide state funding to CRS had earlier suggested a corpus
fund but this could not materialise due to Ministry of Finance
Guidelines not allowing creation of fund either out of revenue
or out of Government borrowing.
The Committee observed that the Government had approved the
policy in 2002 for grant of licenses for setting up of CRS
to well established education, institutions including IITs/IIMs.
While 130 CRS are operational in the country, the Ministry
told the Committee that 1026 applications have been received
since 2002 when the first policy of CRS was brought out. Out
of 363 permissions issued so far, 165 Grant of permission
agreement (GOPA) have been signed and 268 applications are
under the consideration for grant of permission at various
The Committee noted with concern that out of the 268 applications,
as many as 110 applications were pending with various Ministries
such as Home, Defence, Human Resource Development; the Wireless
Planning Commission wing of Department of Telecommunications;
and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
The Committee felt that the I&B Ministry being the sole
authority responsible for spread of CR Movement should co-ordinate
with the concerned Ministries/agencies for early clearance
of pending applications so that community radio services spread
fast in the country reaching out to large population.