Soft launch of Kisan TV on 23 March; Prasar Bharati working on north-east TV channel: Jaitley

NEW DELHI: Kisan TV, which is slated for formal launch on Baisakhi Day 14 April as a 24-hour channel devoted to farmers and rural India, will have its soft launch on 23 March.

In a report on action taken on promises made in the budget presented by him in July, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) had given its ?in-principle? approval on 5 November. (This is the first time that a Finance Minister has appended an action-taken report on his last budget while presenting the budget for the new fiscal year.)

Jaitley, who holds the Information and Broadcasting portfolio as well, said Prasar Bharati is also actively working on a 24x7 television channel for the north-east, for which the clearance of the SFC had been forwarded to the pubcaster on 24 September. The channel is expected to provide a strong platform to rich cultural and linguistic identity of the region.

Referring to his announcements relating to Digital India, Jaitley said that a draft cabinet note on e-Kranti has been finalized, an Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) note on National Information Infrastructure had been circulated, an EFC note on Common Services Centre was under finalization, and the first meeting of the Apex Committee on Digital India was held on 26 November.

The Kisan TV channel was to have been launched on Makar Sankranti Day (14 January) but Jaitley had now been assured that all arrangements would be completed by mid-April.

In a meeting held in January, Jaitley sought full details of the work done on the channel, for which he had set aside Rs 100 crore in the Budget in his capacity as Finance Minister.

However, the budget for I&B Ministry showed an allocation of Rs 90 crore for this in the year 2014-15 and the budget for 2015-16 shows an allocation of Rs 45 crore grants-in-aid. Of the Rs 90 crore allocated, only Rs 21.68 crore had been utilised as per the revised estimates for 2014-2015. 

DD sources told that the Minister had been assured that all preparations would be completed by mid-April. It was also stated that 14 April is a very important day for farmers as it marks the start of the sowing season.

Noting that the proposed Doordarshan Kisan is a dedicated channel for the farmers to give them information targeted to address the wholesome edutainment needs of a farmer to adopt and adapt to modern scenario, the national broadcaster had in early December invited proposals for programmes under the Self Financing Commissioned (SFC) Scheme.

DD sources said the content expected for DD Kisan will primarily address the developmental needs of the farmer addressing ?Core Agriculture?, ?Critical Support? and ?Essential Ancillary? areas, keeping in mind the varied Agro-Economic Zones, Climatic Areas, Different Crops and the need to address the target audience spread across various states but will have to be entertaining and engaging.

The content on DD Kisan will be in Hindi with regional dubbing.

The genres for which it invited proposals are: Documentaries/Features (Field Based); Magazines/Docu Dramas (Field Based); Cookery Shows/Biographies; Daily Soap/Fiction Serials/Family Serials/Thrillers; film song based programmes; Reality Shows/Game Shows; and Mandi Bhav/Bazar Bhav/Agro Based Bulletins.

In addition, DD Kisan will have a new segment for iconic characters plus Content Packaging where animation characters will convey the agricultural themes and desired messaging. It is expected that the participants under this category will also provide layouts of the channel?s packaging.

It will also have a segment for edited feature films where the entire film is expected to be capsuled with anchor based presentation for 60 minutes.

In the ?Bazar Bhav? /Mandi Bhav? segments, updates from the Mandis including the template will be required to be provided, which would be required to give the core audiences suitable direction and help in the agricultural productive activity.

To begin with, each producer has to send in the synopsis of 26 episodes but this may be extended if necessary.

Under the scheme of self-financed commissioning, the Producer will produce the programme at his own risk and cost and on the selection of the programme, Doordarshan will market it, telecast the same and pay the producer for his services after a specified period of time.

Self-financed commissioning of programmes through outside producers could be done for DD?s national channels, regional language channels, state networks, regional and local services.

DD shall, at its discretion and in accordance with its programme requirements, select producers suo moto for production of programmes on its channels by following the procedure outlined below. DD may also consider proposals submitted by producers on their own.

Ministry sources said Prasar Bharati had said inputs would be taken from different Agricultural Universities and Institutes to develop rich content for the channel and the same would  be disseminated among the farmers.

DD is hoping to engage people in the fields of production as well as marketing in positions ranging from senior to mid to junior level.

There are a total of 67 vacant posts of Post Production Professionals, Visual Graphics Designer, Record Keeper, Senior Videographer, Junior Videographer, Senior Production Executive, Production Executive, Senior Creative Editor, Creative Editor, Senior Presenter, Presenter, Copy Editor?Cum-Writer, Programme Trainees, Head- Sales & Marketing, and Senior Sales & Marketing Executive.

Other steps being taken by Prasar Bharati for this channel include: production of in-house and outsourced content; liaison with relevant ministries to get inputs for channel content and for which advertisements will be issued; calculation of budget and expenditure for the channel; crowd sourcing for channel name, logo, jingles etc; issue of advertisement for channel packaging and branding along with look and feel and montage;

A consultation meeting has been held with various educational institutes for a rich content and to create a ?Resource Persons Group? and this would be a continuous process.

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