| 25 Jul 2024
Twelve states/union territories have no community radio station, 188 operational in country

New Delhi: Eight states and four union territories still do not have any community radio station (CRS), even though the number of CRS has grown to 188 operational in the remaining 24 states and UTs.

Tamil Nadu has the largest number of CRS with 27, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 23, Maharashtra with 17, Madhya Pradesh with 15 and Karnataka with 14. All the other states have less than 10 CRS. The National Capital Region of Delhi leads the seven union territories with six stations.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources told that the Government has received a recommendation from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) about the renewal of the Grant of Permission Agreement (GOPA) of the 100 CRSs which have completed a five-year term as specified in policy guidelines.

In keeping with the initial recommendation by TRAI on 23 January last year for renewing GOPA for an interim period, the Ministry has commenced the process even as it is still to take a final decision on the final report of TRAI.

The Ministry has finalised guidelines for sponsored programmes on community radio stations which are available on Ministry’s website State Governments can engage with community radio stations on the basis of these guidelines to broadcast public interest information and sponsored programmes.

An inter-ministerial committee has also been constituted to review the functioning of this sector. This committee meets regularly and takes stock of the progress made and challenges being faced by the CRSs’.

Grant of permission to organisations to set up community radio stations is a continuous process. Eligible organizations can apply to set up CRS in any part of the country. Permission is granted, subject to fulfilment of eligibility criteria and receipt of clearances from ministries of Home, Defence, Human Resource Development, and Agriculture and the Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing of the Communication and Information Technology Ministry, as the case may be.

A review of the functioning of CRSs is a continuous exercise in the Ministry. Every year, a detailed report about operating CR Stations is brought out in the form of CR compendium. So far, five editions of CR compendiums have been published which are available on Ministry’s website

CRSs operate on frequency modulation (FM) which is easily accessed by people on their radio sets or mobile phones. The permission to set up CRS is granted in accordance with policy guidelines for setting up of CRS in India, which are available on I & B Ministry’s website.

At present, the policy guidelines allow for setting up of CRS in India by not-for-profit organisations like educational institutions, NGOs/registered societies, trusts and Krishi Vigyan Kendras etc.

CRS permission holders are eligible to apply for financial assistance on purchase of equipment under the Plan Scheme, “Supporting community radio movement in India”. Detailed guidelines for providing financial assistance to CRS are also available on ministry’s website.