| 15 Jul 2024
Slow pace of FMization is hurting revival of Prasar Bharati: Parliamentary Committee

New Delhi: A parliamentary committee has said it is “perturbed to note that no action has been initiated so far by the Prasar Bharati to prepare a comprehensive proposal with regard to FMization.

The parliamentary standing committee for information technology which reviews issues related to the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry said both FMization and Doordarshan’s Freedish had the greatest scope for a road map for revival of Prasar Bharati.

In its action taken report laid recently in parliament, the committee had earlier recommended that Prasar Bharati formulate a comprehensive plan on FMization at the earliest for seeking cabinet approval, but there was little progress in this regard.

As FMization needs enhanced Plan allocation under the 12th Plan and the proposal can be approved at the time of revision of the 12th Plan before sending the final proposal for approval of CCEA (cabinet committee on economic affairs), the committee urged that Prasar Bharati take urgent steps for preparation of a comprehensive proposal for FMization without any further delay.

In its original report, the committee had said: “The committee recognize that the idea of providing Freedish and progressive Fmization can play vital role in shaping future roadmap for revival of Prasar Bharati.”

On the issue of FMization, the ministry had informed the committee that it was for Prasar Bharati to take a call this. It had conveyed to Prasar Bharati that the issue could be addressed at the time of revision in the 12th Plan, which may be got approved by the Prasar Bharati board and the final scheme proposal may be forwarded to the ministry for approval by CCEA.

The committee recommended that Prasar Bharati should accordingly go ahead and formulate a comprehensive proposal on FMization at the earliest for seeking cabinet approval.

In response to its queries, the ministry in its action taken note, told the committee that Prasar Bharati had informed that radio Iistenership had moved over to FM Radio because of superior stereo quality and variety of programming. In addition, availability of FM radio on mobile phones has further enhanced its popularity.

AIR FM radio presently covers only 45 percent of the population. The cost of ensuring FM across entire nation is Rs 3000 Crore approximately. This would require enhanced Plan allocation, midterm 12th plan review and generation of new resources.

The ministry has already communicated to Prasar Bharati that any revisions in the approved Plan Scheme will have to be taken up with CCEA after such proposals for revisions are furnished to the ministry with due approval of Prasar Bharati board.