| 23 Mar 2018
ATMA revised guidelines on funding CRS to promote agricultural-based programs

MUMBAI: The revised guidelines for funding Community Radio Station (CRS) under the Scheme ‘Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms’ have been approved recently. A total amount of approximately Rs 65 lakh (instead of the earlier Rs 54 lakh) is proposed to be provided as assistance for this purpose.

The upper limit of Rs 65 lakh of financial assistance for setting up the CRS now includes capital cost and content creation cost for the first three years. In the first year, the funding for content creation is higher but it gradually decreases by the third year.

The funding to private institutions, along with Government and Quasi-government organisations for setting up CRS can be considered, if CRS meets the basic principles. State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) and organisations/agencies/NGOs/KVKs (Krishi Vigyan Kendras) registered under Societies Registration Act, 1860 or any other such act and recognised by the Central government /State government and serving in Agriculture and allied areas- shall be eligible to apply for funding of CRS under the above mentioned Scheme. The institution/organisation at the time of application should be at least three years old. It should have basic infrastructure and facilities in the form of a room of about 400 sq. feet with the necessary manpower and electricity to operate the station.

Community Radio Association vice-president NA Shah Ansari, commenting on the development said, "It is positive revision. Funding is essential for many community radio stations to sustain themselves. I am hopeful many community radio stations will be encouraged by this opportunity. I hope that the right Community Radio Station receives the funding."

The financial assistance for setting up CRS is provided by Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA), and has to be approved by State Extension Work Plan (SEWP). The organisation would be required to give an undertaking for continuing the broadcasting of agricultural programs for two years after the discontinuation of funding support from the Ministry of Agriculture and for a further period of two years after the renewal of license.

The managing committee of the ATMA of the district, in which the CR is based, will select suitable proposals. These will then be recommended to the Nodal Officer/ Commissioner of Agriculture of the concerned State for onward transmission to the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC). The project director at ATMA will regularly review the performance and activities of the CRS.