Channels gear up for budget with specials

MUMBAI: With the union budget due to be announced on Friday news channels are gearing up with a slew of specials and in-depth analysis. has a wrap up of what viewers can catch on-air -

Jain TV - The Delhi based channel is poised to become the first free-to-air business and news channel in Hindi. Its budget campaign involves Mere Sau Rupaye - a series of special programmes - leading up to the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament.

According to Jain TV managing editor Ankur Jain, the new channel will make complex business and finance matters relating to the budget simpler, reaching out to larger section of viewers and consumers of news.

Other programmes include Agar Aap FM Hote (If You Were the Finance Minister) and Kya Aap Jante Hain? (Do You Know?).

Aaj Tak - Starting February 24, there are special one hour daily shows - Aisa Na Ho Budget from 8 pm onwards. The highlight of the programme will be a series of CEO bites, which will entail asking them- what is the one thing they dont want in the budget? The programme- Aisa Na Ho Budget will also feature special detailed analysis on issues like subsidy, inflation, government expenditure, and government flab and markets reactions.

The channel will also telecast a live discussion with young management students at a B School along with a general reaction on budget live across from the country. The programme will lay emphasis on the impact of the budget on general people across states. General public and eminent economists will participate in a studio discussion where they will look at the impact of the budget on general public. In addition, there will be a detailed coverage and an analysis of the Railway Budget. The high point will be the coverage of Union Budget.

CNBC India - The business and financial channel has lined up a series of pre and post budget specials. The thrust of the channel will rest on how the budget affects people from a cross section of society.

The programmes will bring to the fore issues and ailments of the economy. The channel will also seek the opinion of the common man.

Budget Quest started airing from 17 February and will conclude on Thursday. The half-hour special sees an expert answering questions from viewers and the host. Providing an independent perspective, the show will also have questions from industry faces.

There will also be one-hour specials on the railway budget and the economic survey.

On Budget day, the channel will air the finance minister's speech live. The channel will add depth through analyses and in-depth studio discussions. The finance minister will also be interviewed. CNBC also plans holding a post budget roundtable in Mumbai where leaders and experts will speak on the budgets pros and cons. The channel will air the same in the form of half-hour specials.

The channel will have special budget bulletins having a different feel from the regular news bulletin. Budget bulletins will report and analyse budget related issues and will seek to cover the budget comprehensively. The budget bulletins will be on air till 28 February.

There would also be a six-part post budget show, Budget-The Reality. The show will have comprehensive reports and will analyse the implications of the budget. The show will combine in-studio debates and comments from experts from all over the country. It will air from 3-10 March.

BBC World: This channel will air programmes, which will analyse the Indian union Budget. India Business Report will have three specials around Budget. The pre-budget special which aired on 23 February at 11 am showcased expectations from the budget. Panelists included former finance minister P Chidambaram and former chief economic advisor in the finance ministry Dr Shankar Acharya. At 10 am on the day of the Budget, the show will analyse the Budget along with excerpts from the finance minister's speech. The post Budget episode on 2 March at 11 am will examine the pros and cons of the budget.

On 21 February at 10 pm, Question Time India had a pre-budget special. Asia Business Report will have Budget specials from 25-28 February. Presenter Linnette Tye travels to the country to do special reports. She will talk to decision makers and the public about their views. BBC Mumbai correspondent Sanjeev Srivastava will report on the mood in the city before and after the announcement of the Budget.

Zee News: The news channel has already begun its budget special programming. Aapka Budget 2003, a pre-budget programme, is already being telecast since 17 February.

The channel crew will be interacting with the corportaes at the CII headquarters, reporting their analysis and reactions. Though the Zee Telefilms' director of news group Laxmi Goel did not ascertain the names, he did offer that top businessmen will be participating in this budget related programme.

Zee News has roped in three financial experts: The Economic Times (ET) consultant editor Swaminathan Aiyar , former Delhi ET resident editor Vivek Bharti and economic journalist Raghavan. The trio will be based at the Zee News studio in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi. The channel will however not air the FM's Budget speech that runs into couple of hours but air few relevant portions.

According to Goel, Zee News has managed three presenting sponsors for the Budget programme, Maruti, Max and Aviva, apart from some booking ad spots. Goel said: "World Cup cricket has made things difficult on the marketing front."

As for the Mumbai front, Zee News would be capturing reactions of market, general public live in Mumbai during the budget session.

Doordarshan: The pubcaster will, but ofcourse, telecasting the FM's budget speech live on 28 February from 11 am. Doordarshan will be telecating budget related programmes live till 9 pm, interspersed with few news news.

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