Aaj Tak makes provision for live budget telecast

News channels are rolling up their sleeves once again, as the second important event of the Indian polity's calendar year unfolds on 28 February. The claimant to the number one position, Aaj Tak has already put into place a comprehensive coverage plan branded Aapka Budget 2002.

Satellite and landline connections are being utilised to the fullest, and a number of teams and OB vans have fanned out across the country to garner reactions to the Union Budget as and when it happens. The channel's special programming initiatives that commnced on 20 February and will continue till 1 March have been divided into three parts, according to an official release.

The pre-budget segment that concludes today, has been running stories focusing on consumers and issues that have a direct bearing on family budgets. Today, the channel will showcase a curtain raiser on the Railway Budget. This will cover the state of Indian railways, expectations from the forthcoming railway budget, both from the industrial sector and the common traveller. Aaj Tak will air the Railway Budget 2002 live from 11 am on Tuesday, interspersed with interviews with experts and common citizens. This will be followed by a half hour show on the rail budget from 10:30 pm, comprising stories on the Economic Survey, graphical display of data and guest speakers.

A budget curtain raiser on 27 February at 10:30 pm will focus on the direction the budget will take, as well as expectations and options before the finance minister. This programme will also deal with the budget preparations through picture packages, and will take stock of the economic situation in the country.

Budget Day will see the channel going live to Parliament and to the stock markets to talk about budgetary expectations at 10:30 am. The budget presentation by the finance minister will be complemented by a panel of experts in the studio explaining the budget speech of the FM. The panel will include industry captains, economists and industrialists. The channel will simultaneously get the views of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) through OB links and air the views of the industrialists watching the budget, according to an official release.

A debate over the finer points of the budget will be held at 9 pm the same day, comprising four half hour sessions covering personal finance, industry and the politics of the budget. The post budget coverage will include a live telecast of the finance ministry's media briefing at 11 am, followed by a discussion on the budget implications on the industrial and domestic sectors at 9:30 pm.

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