In an effort to enhance Prasar Bharati’s broadcast infrastructure and network, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved a scheme for Doordarshan and All India Radio worth more than Rs 2,500 crore.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur launched the CCEA-approved Central Sector “Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development (BIND)” programme with a budget of Rs 2,539.61 crores through 2025-26.
“The BIND plan is the mechanism for giving financial support to Prasar Bharati for expenditures connected to the growth and upgradation of its broadcasting infrastructure, content development, and organization-related civil work,” the I&B Ministry said in a statement.
“Prasar Bharati, as the country’s public broadcaster, is the most vital source of information, education, entertainment, and engagement for the people, particularly in the distant areas of the country, via Doordarshan and All India Radio” (AIR).
“Prasar Bharati played an outstanding role in conveying health messages and raising public awareness during the Covid pandemic,” according to the statement.
The BIND programme will enable the public broadcaster to comprehensively upgrade its facilities with improved infrastructure that will expand its reach, including in the LWE (Left Wing Extremism), border, and critical areas, and provide high-quality programming to its viewers.
The production of high-quality content for both domestic and foreign audiences, as well as assuring the availability of diversified content to consumers by expanding the capacity of the DTH platform to accommodate more channels, is another priority area of the project, according to the ministry.
As part of the project, OB vans will be purchased and the DD and AIR studios will be digitally upgraded to HD-readiness.
According to Thakur, the plan sees Doordarshan twenty years from today.
“Prasar Bharti is the government broadcaster…
It is not only about making a profit. The objective is to guarantee that information about government programmes and initiatives reaches the public. Different reports have highlighted the quality of material on Doordarshan and AIR,” said Thakur, adding that both channels are accessible on mobile devices.
He stated, “We are planning how DD should appear in 20 years.”
According to the I&B Ministry, Doordarshan currently broadcasts 36 television channels, including 28 regional stations, while AIR manages over 500 transmission centres.
The BIND plan will enhance coverage of AIR FM transmitters in the country to 66% by geographical area, up from the existing 59%, and to 80% by population, up from the current 68% coverage.
In addition, eight million DD Free Dish DTH set-top boxes (STBs) would be supplied to residents of distant, tribal, LWE, border, and “aspirational” districts.
In addition to expanding the reach of public broadcasting, the project for the modernization and expansion of broadcast infrastructure has the potential to generate indirect employment through the production and provision of services connected to the installation of broadcast equipment.
According to the statement, content development and innovation for AIR and DD have the potential to indirectly employ individuals with diverse media experiences in the content production sector, such as TV/Radio production, transmission, and media-related services.
The project to expand the reach of DD Free Dish is also anticipated to produce job opportunities in the production of STBs.
The ministry noted, “The government reaffirms its commitment to developing, upgrading, and strengthening Doordarshan and Akashvani (Prasar Bharati) infrastructure and services.”