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India mulls waiver of spectrum fee for community radio


10 February 2013

Ashok Kumar/OneWorld South Asia

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Spectrum is an expensive commodity, which the community radio stations have to put to the best possible use, said Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary, India’s Ministry for Information and Broadcasting.

Community radio stations in India would not be required to pay the spectrum fee in near future, according to a top Indian government official. ‘’Complete waiver of Spectrum fee will become a reality soon,’’ said Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary, India’s Ministry for Information and Broadcasting, at the third National Community Radio Sammelan, in New Delhi.

But, we need to appreciate that spectrum is an expensive commodity, which the community radio stations have to put to the best possible use and it should not be squandered, cautioned Varma.

Drawing attention to the sustainability of the community radio stations, as a key issue, Varma said the Community Radio Stations must continue for years and also continue their expansion. ‘’Closing of Community Radio Stations will bring discredit to the community radio movement in India,’’ Varma warned.

Talking to the representatives of Community Radio Stations from all over India, Varma highlighted the need for highest levels of transparency, as he said that these stations need to establish that they are an effective way for communication of government programmes to every nook and corner of the country.

Speaking about the importance of national meet of community radio in India, Varma said conferences like this help us in providing us new perspectives and ideas. He advised the people associated with the community radio stations to think out of the box and be innovative in their approach to prove the utility of this medium. ‘’Conventional thinking might not help us to get out the equilibrium which we have reached and one needs to the take the less travelled road,’’ said.

Even as he invited the people associated with the community radio stations to celebrate the decade of the existence of the community radio, he reminded that it was also a time to take stock and think for a way forward, in taking this movement forward.

J S Mathur, Additional Secretary, India’s Ministry for Information and Broadcasting, appreciated the progress of the community radio and termed it a medium with a form and language understood by the local people. ‘’One cannot realise that the community radio has really taken off in India. It is a wonderful development happening across the length and breadth of the country,’’ he said.

‘’It is a vocation where you not only have fun but are also deeply involved with a community with a sense of service,’’ he said.

Supriya Sahu, Joint Secretary, India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, who was appreciated by both the secretaries for her deep involvement for the cause of the community radio in India, said,’’ It takes lot of guts and determination to run a community radio’’.

 
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