CCEA approves Rs 2,539 crore BIND scheme for modernising Doordarshan, AIR

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved a scheme worth Rs 2,539.61 crore for Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR), in a boost to public sector broadcasting in the country.

The investment, announced under the Central Sector ‘Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND)’ scheme, will be up to 2025-26 and will aim to modernise the two entities run by Prasar Bharati. It is also the largest investment outlay by the government for the two public broadcasters under the BIND scheme, media experts said.

The Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry had last year disclosed in the Lok Sabha that it had spent over Rs 2,300 crore to modernise DD and AIR between 2014 and 2021.

“The BIND scheme is the vehicle for providing financial support to Prasar Bharati for expenses related to expansion and upgrade of its broadcasting infrastructure, content development and civil work related to the organisation,” I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said while announcing the investment on Wednesday.

“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 remote areas of the country, through DD and AIR,” he said.

According to Shashi Shekhar Vempati, media expert and former CEO of Prasar Bharati, the BIND scheme would enable the public broadcaster to undertake major upgrade of its facilities across the country.

Another priority area of the scheme would be the development of high-quality content for both domestic and international audiences and ensuring availability of diverse content to viewers by upgrade of capacity of DD Freedish, the free-to-air DTH platform run by Prasar Bharati, to accommodate more channels, the I&B Ministry said.

Purchase of OB vans and digital upgradation of DD and AIR studios to make them high-definition-ready would also be done as part of the project, the ministry said.

“Prasar Bharti is the public broadcaster… it is not just about profit making. The aim is to ensure information regarding the government’s work and schemes reaches people. Different reports have pointed at the quality of content, whether it is DD or AIR,” said Thakur. Both DD and AIR would be available on mobile phones, he added.

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