RadioandMusic
| 25 Aug 2019
Government issues modified RFP for consulting agency to study growth of community radio and its benefits

NEW DELHI: The government has announced modifications in the invitation for Request for Proposal for selection of a Consulting Agency to conduct a study on listenership, reach and effectiveness of community radio stations in India sought early last month.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry says it has made the modifications primarily relating to technical and financial bids and a change in some dates following the pre-bid meeting held on 25 July.

The Government, which had recently announced Rs 100 crore programme to help the growth of community radio, says the purpose of the RFP is to select a Consulting Agency to conduct a study by way of tangible and intangible, direct or indirect benefits to the community in India.

Through this study, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry seeks to assess community radio stations in terms of their listenership, reach and access among the communities they seek to serve and the extent to which they broadcast programmes relevant to the educational, developmental, social and cultural needs of the community. Of special interest to MIB is to understand the effectiveness of community radio in providing tangible or intangible, direct or indirect benefits to the community.

The objectives are to estimate listenership and reach in the CRS community; drawing up a Socio-Economic and Demographic profile of listeners, find out reasons for listening and not listening and gauge extent and nature of participation of community in the CRS. This also includes using CRS as platform to identify and promote local talent and culture; assess effectiveness of CRS in providing tangible and intangible, direct and indirect benefits to the community like creating awareness about relevant local issues, providing useful information, promote a rights based perspective, and role played in disaster management etc.

The announcement for bid was made on 13 July and there was a pre-bid conference on 25 July. The issuance of the final RFP was 1 August and the last date for submission of bids will be on 29 August, with the eligible bids being opened the same day.

Technical bids of eligible firms will be opened on 5 September and financial bids for technical qualified firms on 12 September.

The contract will be awarded on 30 September and the work has to be done within 150 days. The final presentation will be on 28 February next year and the government will announce its acceptance or otherwise on 23 March.

The Government in December 2002 approved a policy to allow community radio stations to well establish educational institutions. The guidelines were amended in 2006 to include Not-for-profit organisations under its ambit in order to allow greater participation by the civil society on issues relating to development and social change.

Currently there are 170 functional CRS and another 250 in the pipeline going through different stages of the licensing process.

Globally, Community Radio has been seen as an important third tier in broadcasting, distinct from public service and commercial media that provides an opportunity to the local voices to speak about issues concerning their lives, which are largely ignored by main stream media. In the last few years, this Sector has seen to be growing slowly but effectively in India.

Since CRS licenses in India are granted only to Not-for-Profit organizations, they are not driven by profit motives. Rooted in the local community which gives CRS a distinct advantage to focus on local development goals for health, nutrition, education etc. Furthermore, since the broadcast is in local languages, people are able to relate to it instantly. Community radio also has the potential to strengthen people’s participation in development programmes.

In a country like India, where every State has its own language and distinctive cultural identity, CRS can also act as a repository of local folk music and cultural heritage. Many CRS record and preserve local songs for posterity and give local artistes a new platform to showcase their talent to the community.

The unique position of CRS as an instrument of positive social change makes it an ideal tool for community empowerment.

The policy guidelines for community radio and the community radio station in operation currently can be accessed at www.mib.nic.in.