| 27 Sep 2022
A total of 179 Community Radio stations operational in the country: Rathore

NEW DELHI: Only seventy-six letters of intent have been issued out of the 689 applications from educational institutions, registered societies, trusts and NGOs etc, received since 1 January 2012 for setting up community radio stations. 

As many as 285 applications have been returned or rejected, while 263 have been referred back to the applicants. 

Sixty-five of the applications have been referred to various Ministries, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore told the Lok Sabha on 27 February 2015. The question was related to applications in the last three years. 

He said 179 community radio stations are presently operational in the country, and added that coordination meetings are being held with various Ministries and Departments in this connection. He said these clearances are mandatory. 

Earlier in December, the Minister had told Parliament that just 32 of the 211 organisations which have signed the Grant of Permission Agreement (GOPA) had yet to operationalise their stations. 

These 211 organisations were out of the 398 which have been issued letters of intent (LOI) for starting community radios, Rathore had said in reply to a question. 

He added, the GOPA is signed after getting the frequency allocation and Standing Advisory Committee for Frequency Allocation (SACFA) clearances from the Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) Wing of Ministry of Communication & Information Technology.

Under the policy guidelines for setting up of Community Radio Stations in India, GOPA holders are required to set up and operationalise the station within three months of signing of GOPA subject to receipt of Wireless Operating Licence (WOL) from the WPC Wing. 

Besides obtaining WOL, permission holders are also required to mobilise financial and other resources to set up the station and commence their operations. 

LOI can be issued subject to receiving clearances from the Home, Defence, Human Resource Development, and Agriculture Ministries and the WPC wing of the Communication and IT Ministry, as the case may be.

The Ministries concerned are required to communicate their clearances within three months of receipt of the application. The case is then referred to an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) for a decision for issue of LOI. 

The I & B Ministry has put in place an online Community Radio Management Information System (CRMIS) to help applicants to apply online. A filled in model application is also available on CRMIS. Various guidelines issued by the Government on Community Radio are also available on the home page of the site. The Ministry is also organising awareness workshops across the country to sensitise the public about the policy and create awareness about issues relating to permission process, operation and maintenance of Community Radio Stations.