Spectrum fee waived for community radio

01 Oct,2012

By A Correspondent

 

The Ministry of Communications & IT has decided to waive the spectrum fee for Community Radio Services (CRS). This follows requests received from National Advisory Council, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the Community Radio Association for waiver of spectrum charges for Community Radio Services.

 

Keeping in mind that the Government’s role is to create an enabling environment for CRS, Kapil Sibal, Minister for Communications & IT has asked the Telecom Department to evolve detailed guidelines by October 12, to ensure that the spectrum is optimally used and the channels use these airwaves only to inform and empower the common man. It was felt that in the interest of inclusive and informed society, the government should provide the spectrum (airwaves) for CRS at zero cost. Although this may result in an opportunity cost of not more than Rs 25 lakh to the government, the cost is far outweighed by the benefit of informed, empowered and inclusive local communities and the nation.

 

Announcing this, a news release from the Press Information Bureau said that sustainability is the biggest challenge for CRS. Community radio focuses on low cost and low return pattern of operations. Donor funding is crucial for CRS. As most of the donors come from local communities, this financing option is inadequate and irregular for CRS operating in remote areas and for the marginalized sections of the society.

 

Community radio plays a vital role in building vibrant communities, in mobilizing groups to action by informing and empowering citizens, in giving voice to marginalized groups of society, and in bringing community needs to the attention of local and even national governments. CRS can prove to be an excellent tool for managing plurality in a society and for fostering democracy.

 

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