Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday said all the existing broadcasting of Central Government Ministries, State/UT Governments and related entities would have to be brought under the Prasar Bharati route as per the new guidelines.
In a written reply to a query from the Rajya Sabha Member Anbumani Ramadoss pertaining to Kalvi TV, an educational channel run by Tamil Nadu Government, the Minister said under the advisory dated October 21, 2022, the entry of Central/State/UT Government into the business of broadcast for educational purposes should be done through the Prasar Bharati route through suitable agreements between Prasar Bharati and the government concerned.
The advisory had been issued after examination of the recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the extant matter and stakeholder consultations on the issue. Before finalising, the TRAI’s views were sought on giving dispensation to State and Central Governments for running channels for non-commercial educational purposes.
The TRAI had responded that the requirements of Central/State Governments regarding dissemination of educational content on a non-commercial basis should be met through the Prasar Bharati route, said the Minister. Such entities distributing the broadcasting content have been asked to “extract themselves” from it by December 31, 2023.
In 2012, the TRAI had recommended that the Central and State Governments, their companies, undertakings, joint ventures with the private sector and the government-funded entities should not be allowed to enter the business of broadcasting and, or, distribution of TV channels.
Responding to another question from Member Kanimozhi NVN Somu, the Minister said Prasar Bharati was telecasting 51 co-branded educational TV channels which were available to the viewers of “DD FreeDish”, a free-to-air DTH service, as per the agreement signed with the Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics. These channels can be viewed across the country free of cost with the help of a small-sized dish and set-top box, which does not require any mobile connectivity.
The Ministry of Education has informed that ₹165.521 crore was released under Swayam Prabha Project towards Transponder charges, uplinking cost and DTH content creation during the last five years.
Time slots on various regional language satellite services channels/State network channels of Doordarshan Network are being provided to various State Governments and their bodies as per their requests for telecast of educational programmes, depending on feasibility. The All India Radio also broadcast similar education programmes in 2020-21 and 2021-22 through various stations.