| 28 May 2022
Satara based MVSS is first NGO to get CR licence

MUMBAI: A Maharashtra based NGO Mann Vikas Samajik Sanstha-MVSS has acquired the licence to run a community radio last week, becoming the first in the NGO sector in the country to join the CR (community radio) network. The NGO works for empowering the women in rural areas and got the license for aswad village in Satara. MVSS president Chetna Gala Sinha asserts, "Many NGOs had applied with the I&B Ministry and we were the first ones to obtain it. The radio station would be an extension of our NGO activities and will be used as a tool to propagate our financial plans. Many times, the villagers do not know about our micro finance loans and how to further implement the money in business, so we have planned programmes on those lines for their benefit." "There were many regulations to comply with and the license comes with a number of restrictions too," Sinha says. MVSS had applied for the licence last year. For starting a community radio, it is mandatory to receive permission from two bodies, Wireless Planning & Coordination -WPC's wing Standing Advisory Committee on Radio Frequency Allocation (SACFA) for wireless frequency and the I&B Ministry. The radio station will go on air from 15 September and will initially broadcast for four hours daily, from 6 to 8 am and a repeat telecast from 5 to 7 pm. MVSS radio volunteer and technical support Reena Ray points out, "We have shortlisted the morning and evening slots because these are the times we might be able to reach a mass audience. However, looking at the response, we might decide to go on air full day on weekends." The NGO hasn't yet coined the name of the radio station, but is working on the conception of the programming. The programmes would be designed on the lines of health, self development; cultural, self financing, micro finance loans, and changes in the rate of interest, programmes like local quiz competitions for the kids are planned. Referring to the challenges of having a community radio, Ray says, "The stations are to be manned by an inexperienced staff as we don't have anyone with a radio background. Also, we have to face competition from the already existing AIR channels and television. It's a challenge to divert the audience to listen to community radio." Remarking that community radio is a powerful medium, Ray says, "Community radio acts as a platform for common people to express their views and opinions and plays an important role in the development of the community." The NGO Mann Vikas Samajik Sanstha is based in Maharashtra and Karnataka and operates in areas of Sangli, Ratnagiri and Raigad.