| 28 Feb 2024
Decks cleared for 40 CR stations, 90 applications pending

NEW DELHI: With the grant of permission for a community radio station at St Aloysius College in Mangalore, the number of such stations (CRS) in the country has gone up to 42, even as over 90 applications from non-governmental organisations and educational institutions are pending approval.

The St Aloysius College station is expected to be operational within three months, according to the Grant of Permission Agreement with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry 

St Aloysius College, Mangalore, is a 129-year old educational institution which hopes to reach out to the adjoining population to make development a participatory process  The population residing around the college includes approximately 34.1 per cent rural listeners. More than 54 per cent women will get a chance to listen to the station 

Earlier this month, the ministry announced that it had given permission to the non-governmental organisation Dhan Foundation of Madurai to set up the Kalanjiam Community Radio Station at Village Vizhunthamavadi, Block-Keelaiyur in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu which was largely affected by the tsunami in December 2004. The CRS is expected to serve the women, farmers, and fishermen and empower them with information and communication critical for disaster preparedness and management. The community management committee has made linkages with the local government institutions like panchayats, health centres, schools and disaster management related Government institutions to establish a disaster management mechanism to face natural calamities 

In December, the ministry permitted the NGO Sharanbasaveshwar Vidya Vardhak Sangha in Gulbarga to set up a CRS to serve the communities in the region, particularly girls, women, farmers and students and empower them.

The Delhi-based Society for Development Alternatives became the first non-governmental organization to launch a CRS at Taragram, Orchha, in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh in October 

Ministry sources told that a total of around 40 NGOs have so far got the ministry's permission to set up and operate Community Radio Stations in different parts of the country but the finalisation of details is at various stages of implementation 

The Central Government in December 2006 had liberalised the Policy on Community Radio by bringing in the civil society and voluntary organizations, agricultural universities, ICAR institutions, Krishi Vigyan Kendras etc under its ambit. The policy was liberalised to allow greater participation by the civil society on issues of development and social change. Earlier, only educational institutions were permitted to launch community radio channels 

The Community Radio initiative is aimed at empowering women, youth and marginalized groups to take part in local self-governance and overall socio-economic and cultural development of the area 

The Government in late 2007 also announced that existing community radio operators can take advantage of the revised guidelines for new operators and get their broadcast permission extended to five years from the present three 

The old guidelines provided for permission for only three years whereas the new guidelines have provisions for five years. To take advantage of this, existing operators will have to sign a revised Grant of Permission Agreement (GOPA) with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for which they may apply separately in prescribed format with necessary documents. Only applications complete in all respects will be accepted 

This follows the decision of the Ministry to extend the facilities of the new guidelines of 2006 even to the existing Community Radio Operators and it has been decided that the provisions of the new policy guidelines, 2006      

In the new guidelines, limited advertising and announcements relating to local events, local businesses and services and employment opportunities shall be allowed. The maximum duration of such limited advertising will be restricted to Five minutes per hour of broadcast. The detailed Guidelines and proforma for application are available on this ministry's website