The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved the “Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND)” scheme with an outlay of ₹2,539.61 crore up to 2025-26, paving the way for upgrade and expansion of the public service broadcasting infrastructure across the country.
As a result, FM of the All India Radio is expected to cover over 80% of the country’s population, while eight lakh Doordarshan Free Dish DTH set-top boxes will be distributed to people living in the remote, tribal and border areas, aspirational districts and the Left Wing Extremism infested zones.
“Prasar Bharati, as the public broadcaster of the country, is the most important vehicle of information, education, entertainment and engagement for the people especially in the remote areas of the country through Doordarshan and All India Radio...the BIND scheme will enable the public broadcaster to undertake a major upgrade of its facilities with better infrastructure which will widen its reach...and provide high quality content to the viewers,” said the government in a statement.
A key priority area of the scheme is the development of high-quality content for both domestic and international audience and to ensure availability of diverse content to the viewers by upgrade of capacity of the DTH platform to accommodate more channels. “Purchase of OB [outside broadcasting] vans and digital upgrade of DD and AIR studios to make them HD-ready will also be done as part of the project,” it said.
Currently, Doordarshan operates 36 TV channels, including 28 regional ones, and the All India Radio operates over 500 broadcasting centres. “The scheme will increase the coverage of AIR FM transmitters in the country to 66% by geographical area and 80% by population, up from 59% and 68% respectively,” said the government.
The initiative is also projected to generate indirect employment by way of manufacturing and services related to the supply and installation of broadcast equipment. “Content generation and content innovation for AIR and DD has the potential of indirect employment of persons with varied experience of different media fields,” it said, adding that the expansion of the reach of DD Free Dish was also expected to generate employment in the manufacturing of DTH boxes.