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AIR News can be retransmitted on community radio

10 February 2013

Ashok Kumar/OneWorld South Asia

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The Indian Government is also in the process of creating a single window clearance system for making the process friendlier for setting up a community radio station.

Community radio stations can retransmit the news broadcast by the government controlled All India Radio, said Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary, India’s Ministry for Information and Broadcasting, at the third National Community Radio Sammelan, in New Delhi.

Releasing the compendium on the community radio in India, Varma said that looking at the focussed and intense discussions which happened during the Sammelan, it was a privilege for him to inaugurate the Sammelan.

Varma said that after the government revised its policy and allowed the not-for-profit organisations to set up community radio stations, today, around 40 per cent of the community radio stations are run by NGOs.

Varma said that the movement of community radio in India is a collective initiative, as the government provides a framework but it is the people who make community station, a reality on the ground. He also said that his Ministry is in the process of creating a single window clearance system for better facilitation of setting up a community radio station.

Varma also highlighted seven key factors which are crucial for the development of the community radio stations in India. Human resource and capacity building is one of the most significant factor and host of organisations should get into this task of capacity building, Varma said.

According to Varma, reaching the unreached should be also a big priority and there was a need to do something about the imbalance of the number of community Radio Stations which exist in all the regions. “While Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have the largest number of community radio stations, some areas like the North-East have very little presence of the community Radio. The more backward the area, greater is the utility of the Community Radio,” Varma said.

Terming the community as the soul of the community radio station, Varma exhorted the community radio stations to keep community as their focus. Varma also underlined the role of the community radio stations in being instrumental in preserving the traditions.

Varma also impressed on the importance of ethics as he warned,” If ever there will be a setback to the movement of community radio, it shall be on the account of ethics.

J S Mathur, Additional Secretary, India’s Ministry for Information and Broadcasting, assured the representatives of the community radio stations that that his ministry would ensure that the field of community radio becomes easier for people to get into it.

Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary, India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, said that it goes to the credit of our efforts that there are 144 functional Community Radio Stations across India. “Just two and a half years back there were sixty stations,” she said.

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