| 28 Mar 2023
Number of Community Radio Stations touches 180 even after an almost decade-old scheme

NEW DELHI: Despite the scheme being almost a decade old and the Government extending financial assistance, the total number of operational community radio stations (CRS) in the country is just 180.

This is despite the fact that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B Ministry) has issued around 410 permissions to set up community radio stations in the country.

In addition to other assistance, the Government has even set up a fund to help CRSs.

A Parliamentary Committee noted recently that 209 applications for setting up of Community Radio Stations were pending with various Ministries. Even though the number of applications pending in the Ministries concerned has come down substantially, there are at least 50 applications that are pending which have crossed the stipulated timeline beyond 3 months.

Though the scheme was launched around a decade ago, the outreach of the Community Radio Stations was enhanced in 2006 to include non Governmental and Community based organisations with at least three years of legal existence.

Earlier this year, the Parliament was informed that only seventy-six letters of intent had 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 had been returned or rejected, while 263 had been referred back to the applicants.

According  to the list placed on the Ministry’s website as of 1 May this year, the largest number of community radio stations – around 90 – are being operated by private and governmental educational institutions, around 65 by non-governmental organisations, around 20 by universities, including six by state agricultural universities, and six by Kendriya Vidyalya Kendras.

Tamil Nadu has the largest number of CRSs, numbering around 27, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 21, Maharashtra with 17, Madhya Pradesh with 14, and Karnataka with 13. All other states and union territories have ten or less CRSs, with Delhi having six.