NEW DELHI: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has proposed to earmark Rs 1 billion for development of community radio stations in the Twelfth Five Year Plan, of which Rs 900 million will be for grants or aid to help the CRS movement in the country.

Giving this information at the Third Community Radio Sammelan in New Delhi, I&B Minister Manish Tewari said only Rs 100 million had been set aside for capacity building.He also said the proposal was that at least 500 more community radio stations should become operational during the Twelfth Plan.

Meanwhile, he said the Ministry had taken the initiative to promote the streamlining and simplification of Community Radio empanelment through Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity thereby ensuring that the empanelled stations got a fair share of Government advertisements. DAVP had so far allocated around Rs 60 million in commercial advertisements to CRS.

The Minister was speaking at the valedictory function of the Sammelan, at which he also gave away awards in five different categories to different CRS all over the country.

(Later talking to the media, the Minister admitted that while the Government was willing to permit CRS to broadcast news bulletins of All India Radio as was being done in the Third Phase of FM expansion, this would need Cabinet approval.)

At the outset, he said that permitting CRS to make their own news bulletins would create other difficulties. He gave the example of non-news television channels which he said managed to find different ways of giving news and the difference between the general entertainment channels and news channels was getting blurred..

He said that the CRS movement was very important in India today. While the Government had its organs for conveying its messages and programmes to the people, CRS could provide a two-way interaction by conveying what the people wanted. He said there was growing impatience and intolerance and people wanted to find a voice.

He said CRS could also highlight local issues that the government could then pay attention to. This effort has to be led by the community and not by the government, he added.

For his part, he said the Ministry had adopted a holistic approach to CRS. It wanted to work out a system to give assistance to new CRS to come up. He also wanted the CRS to draw up a code of ethics for themselves.  The Ministry was



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