Prasar Bharati lists achievements of last three years

NEW DELHI: In a bid to improve the Prasar Bharati infrastructure, the government sanctioned a special package of Rs 4300 million for improvement of AIR/Doordarshan infrastructure in Jammu & Kashmir and is in its last stage of implementation. Another package for improvement of the AIR/Doordarshan infrastructure in the North-East region (including Sikkim and Island territories) has been approved in principle for implementation during the 10th Five Year Plan. These, among others, have been listed as part of achievements of the NDA government which completed three years in office on 13 October.

This is something which also gives us lot of pleasure to report. Five days after did a special report on three years of information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj, the Press Information Bureau has come out with a detailed press release on the achievements of the I&B ministry.

Though we had taken up the important events and done a critical analysis, the PIB has listed some other achievements too. For example, the government statement states that in the North-Eastern region, a scheme for establishment of 160 cable head-ends in select villages has been taken up.

In the last three years, 275 new TV transmitters have been installed and 11 new studios have been set up.

DD Metro coverage increased from 13 to 37.7 per cent of the population. The concept of narrowcasting for telecast of special programmes for rural areas will become a reality with the introduction of this service from nine TV stations this month, the statement says, adding, induction of digital-based technology by AIR by launching of digital 'direct to home' satellite service, as also digital based programme production facilities and digital storage of Archival Audio material has also commenced.

Though, technically Prasar Bharati Corporation should not be part of I&B ministry's achievements as it is an autonomous body, but the government statement goes to add that in the past three years new channels have been added on Doordarshan.

Twenty-four hours satellite channels have been launched in Gujarati, Bangla, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Punjabi and Oriya. Kashmir Channel, 24 hours North-East channel and DD-India have also been launched. A state network service has been launched in the new states of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. A similar service will be launched this year for Uttaranchal. Coverage of DD India is being extended to major parts of the world. A special Sports channel has also been launched as also DD Bharati channel to focus on children, health, art and culture.

I&B ministry's three-year achievement also lists setting up of the Journalist Welfare Fund with a corpus of Rs 50 million. This has been done with a view to provide immediate relief to the families of journalists who suffer loss of life or permanent disability rendering them incapable of discharging duties.

Then, of course, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi laid the foundation stone for the National Press Centre. Such Press Centres exist in major capitals of the world. The National Press Centre is to be located at a very central place within easy reach of Parliament, the Central Secretariat and various media organisations. The Centre will have the state-of-the-art facilities for facilitating the work of the media.

Amongst the other achievements are the introduction of a simplified advertising policy by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) to bring about greater transparency, simplify the procedure for empanelment and to tighten circulation check of newspapers; the Photo Division's extensive photo coverage of PM's visits to several countries, including the USA, Italy, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal, South Africa, Mauritius, Maldives and also to visiting dignitaries and the Song and Drama Division (suggested by the Geethakrishnan panel to be wound up as part of cost cutting by the government) organising a large number of live and sound and light programmes to disseminate information about developmental programmes.

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