The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Anurag Thakur today conferred the 8th and 9th National Community Radio Awards.The awards were conferred during the Inaugural Session of thetwo-day Regional Community Radio Sammelan (North) which was inaugurated by the Union Minister at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion the Minister said that Community Radio Stations play a key role in realizing the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of Jan Bhagidari se Jan Andolan. These stations compliment the efforts of Akashvani and have played a key role in keeping their listeners informed during calamities.
Shri Anurag Thakur said the Community Radio stations provide their service despite several challenges including Human Resource shortage, financial strains and lack of external support and for this spirit of nation service they ought to be commended. While the awards encourage the stations, the Minister said, they also recognise the importance of Community Radio in education, awareness generation and problem solving in the remotest corners of India. He expressed hope that the awards will encourage others to foray into this field.
The Minister delved into the efforts of the Government towards Ease of Doing Business in this field and said that the Government has made earnest efforts to reduce the time taken to establish such community radio stations. Where earlier acquiring a license was a time consuming and tedious process taking around four years and involving thirteen processes, today this has been reduced to eight processes and a license can be acquired within six months. He added that the Ministry is making all efforts to reduce this time further. The application process is now online on Broadcast Seva Portal and is connected to Saral Sanchar Portal.
Commenting on the expansion of reach of Radio in India, the Minister said that while today 80% of geographical area of the country and over 90% percent of population is covered by Radio, Government is working to expand this reach further and auction of 808 channels in 284 cities under the 3rd batch of e-auction is a big step in that direction.
Shri Thakur said that the increasing number of Community Radio Stations is a display of their Increasing popularity. Government of India is working to realise the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi that there should be a Community Radio station in each district and this should further percolate to one in every Block.
Speaking on the need for a platform to bring together the experiences of these Community Radio Stations, Shri Thakur said that various experiments and innovations in the field of community services are being performed in isolation by these radio stations across India. He expressed hope that a network could be created where these stations could share their ideas and experiences so that the best of these could be replicated across the country. He envisioned a community that will create a powerhouse out of the ideas of these stations.
The Minister thanked the Jury of the awards for their contributions and congratulated the winners making a special mention of the station that have been conferred an award both for the 8th and 9th edition stating that this recognises their continuing excellence in the field.