| 05 Dec 2023
Progress in modernisation of AIR, DD is unsatisfactory: Parliamentary Committee

NEW DELHI: Noting that it is ‘very crucial to rejuvenate and revitalise Prasar Bharati by improving its efficiency, effectiveness and quality of broadcasting through complete digitisation’, a Parliamentary Committee has said the performance in this regard during the Eleventh Plan was "unsatisfactory".

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, which also examines Information and Broadcasting, in a recent report, recommended that earnest efforts must be made to see that all the planned schemes for modernisation of All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD) are implemented during the Twelfth Plan period.

It noted that one of the focal points of successive reports of the Committee have been the modernisation of AIR and DD. The Committee noted that for the Twelfth Plan period, the Government has allocated Rs 2,252 crore for AIR for modernisation /expansion of its infrastructure, which includes Rs 1,020 crore for the new schemes under the Twelfth Plan, and Rs 1,232 crore for the continuing schemes of the Tenth and Eleventh Plans.

In regard to the modernisation of Doordarshan, the Committee had been informed that it is a continuous process and various schemes for modernisation are formulated and implemented from time to time. At present, the schemes which are under implementation include Digitalisation of Transmitters and Studios in Doordarshan Network, High Definition Television (HDTV), Modernisation, Augmentation and Replacement of Transmitter and Studio equipment, Modernisation, Augmentation and Replacement of Satellite Broadcast equipment and DTH Service, etc.

The Committee recommended that the remaining works related to digitisation of Medium Wave (MW) and Short Wave (SW) Transmitters, studios and digitisation of connectivity are completed within the time limits prescribed under the Twelfth Plan.

The Committee took serious note of the fact that for complete digitisation of AIR networks and 100 per cent coverage by FM signal, inadequate funds were allocated during the Eleventh Plan, and even during the Twelfth Plan, the requisite requirement of Rs 4,179 crore allocation has not been met. As a result, the digitisation plan has been shifted further and is expected to be completed only by December 2018.

The Committee noted that both AIR and DD as national broadcasters are playing a crucial role in the socio-economic development of the country because of their extensive reach across the masses, particularly in the rural and far flung areas of the country.