NEW DELHI: Operational Community radio stations, which today number around 200 more than a decade after the scheme was introduced, can now look towards the government for a better deal.
These stations would be eligible for getting a grant of a maximum of Rs One million for content creation and 75% of the total estimated expenditure on equipment subject to a ceiling of Rs. 7,50,000.
Under its scheme for “Supporting Community Radio Movement in India”, the grant by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for content creation would be spread over a period of three years at Rs. 2,350 per hour of the programme.
For content creation, the grants will be provided to operational CRSs for producing and broadcasting fresh programmes on following themes:
vi) Social welfare
vii) Community development
viii) Cultural programmes.
The stations which have already received grants on same or similar theme from other government departments will not be eligible for this grant.
The maximum grant size for the purchase of equipment will be to 90% of the total estimated expenditure subject to a ceiling of Rs 7,50,000 for North Eastern States (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura). The remaining amount will have to be contributed by the grantee.
A station will be eligible for the grant for a particular equipment only once in six years. However, an applicant may make applications for different types of equipment at different times. The maximum grant in one or more attempts will be restricted to Rs.7,50,000.
Stations which have already received the grant under the scheme will not be eligible to re-apply for the equipment already supported.
Priority for grants will be given to applicants:
i) from North-East Region.
ii) who have not received any grant in the past or are not presently receiving
Government grants/public funds for the setting up and/or running of the Community Radio Station. If an applicant has access to or has availed public funds for the same purpose (CR), then the applicant automatically gets deprioritised.
iii) from backwards districts
iv) from Left Wing Extremist districts
v) that demonstrate strong community participation
vi) that demonstrate strong community ownership
vii) that strongly represent the voice of marginalised communities
The scheme is a revision of an earlier scheme issued in 2013 for providing financial assistance to Community Radio Stations under the component Community Radio Support Scheme (CRSS). The guidelines in terms of eligibility criteria, the amount of grant and procedure for release of grant etc have been revised.
These guidelines will also be applicable to pending applications for grants for the purchase of equipment and approvals issued in which funds have not been released.
For content creation grants, the CR station would be required to furnish the recording of the programmes that it has created to the Ministry along with its claim for reimbursement of the amount spent in making those programmes. The grant would be given either in one or more instalments depending on the claims made.
Full details of the grant are available on mib.nic.in
A Parliamentary Committee in May 2016 had expressed ‘concern’ that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry was able to spend only Rs 19 million for expanding and helping the community radio movement against an allocation of Rs 63 million made in Budget Estimates (BE) for the year 2015-16 which was reduced to Rs 27 million at the Revised Estimates (RE) stage.
The Standing Committee for information Technology which examines issues relating to I and B noted that during 2015-16, the amount of Rs 7.5 million allocated to the North-East Region was kept idle as no operational station or Letter of the Intent holder from the North-East Region applied for financial assistance.
The Committee said: “It is disquieting to note that out of an approved outlay of Rs 1000 million in the twelfth plan for this scheme, only Rs 72.4 million that is a little over seven percent could be utilised during the first four years of the plan period."
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