The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the information and broadcasting ministry’s proposal to spend over Rs 2,500 crore on “infrastructure development” at Prasar Bharati – specifically All India Radio and Doordarshan. A , which called it a “major boost for public broadcasting”, detailed an outlay of Rs 2,539.61 up to 2025-26.
The development will take place under a scheme called Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development, or BIND. The project will include a “major upgradation” in facilities, development of “high-quality content”, purchase of OB vans, and “digital upgradation” of DD and All India Radio studios “to make them HD ready”.
“The scheme will increase coverage of AIR FM transmitters in the country to 66% by geographical area and 80% by population up from 59% and 68% respectively,” the press release said. “The scheme also envisages free distribution of over 8 lakh DD Free Dish STBs to people living in remote, tribal, LWE and border areas.”
I&B minister Anurag Thakur as saying, “The aim is to ensure information regarding government's work and schemes reaches people...We are planning how DD should look 20 years from now.”
Last year, Newslaundry had reported on how all is not well at Prasar Bharati under its CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati. As a senior Prasar Bharati official told Newslaundry at the time, “Vempati has the advantage of being in direct contact with PM Modi which is qualification enough to move forward in one’s career today. He does not leave any chance to please the government.”