Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

Celebrating 20 Years of Community Radio in India

Posted On: 12 FEB 2024 5:00PM by PIB Delhi

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is organising a regional Community Radio Sammelan (South) on 13th and 14th February 2024 at Anna University Chennai celebrating 20 years of Community Radio in India. All the 117 Community Radio Stations of southern States/UT’s will be participating the event.

During the Occasion Shri Anurag Thakur, Hon’ble Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affair & Sports will deliver Key Note Address. Dr. L. Murugan, Hon’ble Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying will address the gathering through his special Address.

During toh Sammelan, Shri Anurag Thakur will announce policy changes for the community radio sector, to provide impetus to the community radio movement in India .

The journey, of Community Radio in India, started in the year 2002, when the Government of India approved a Policy for the grant of licenses for setting up of Community Radio Stations to well established educational institutions including IITs/IIMs. Considering that Community Radio represents voice of the community, the Government decided to broad base the policy by bringing ‘Non-profit’ organisations like civil society and voluntary organisations etc. under its ambit in order to allow greater participation by the civil society on issues relating to development & social change.

As a result, the first Community Radio Station was inaugurated by Bharat Ratna Shri. L.K Advani Ji on 1st February 2004. The journey was started at a slow pace and later impetus was given when the other community-based organisations were also allowed to setup the Community Radio Stations.

In recent years the Government has taken several proactive steps enabling ease of doing in the sector by making a complete online process for submission of applications. This has resulted in increase in number of Community Radio Station to 481 out of which 155 were added in the last two years. In the last 9 years the sector has grown substantiality and the number of Community Radio Stations has increased from 140 in 2014 to 481 in 2023.

The Regional Sammelan is being inaugurated on the 13th February which marks for the “World Radio Day”.

Community Radio is an important third tier in Radio Broadcasting, distinct from Public Service Radio broadcasting and Commercial Radio. Community Radio Stations (CRSs) are low power Radio Stations, which are meant to be set-up and operated by local communities.

The Community Radio provides a platform to air local voices among the local community on issues concerning Health, Nutrition, Education, Agriculture etc. Moreover, the Community Radio is a powerful medium of the marginalised sections of society to voice their concerns. Furthermore, since the broadcast is in local languages and dialects, people are able to relate to it instantly.

Community Radio also has the potential to strengthen people’s participation in development programmes through its holistic approach. In a country like India, where every state has its own language and distinctive cultural identity, CRSs are also a repository of local folk music and cultural heritage. Many CRSs record and preserve local songs for posterity and give local artists a platform to showcase their talent to the community. The unique position of CRS as an instrument of positive social change makes it an ideal tool for community empowerment.


Saurabh Singh

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