Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has announced that 118 new community radio stations (CRS) are in the process of being set-up. The approved list of applicants having been granted Letter of Intent for setting up CRS includes 16 from left wing extremism (LWE)-affected districts, 6 from most LWE-affected districts, 25 from coastal districts, 17 from aspirational districts, 3 from North-East, and 2 from Jammu & Kashmir. Applications from NGOs, educational institutions – both private and public – and Krishi Vigyan Kendras have been granted approvals. It is expected that these community radio stations will become operational within the next 6 months.
Community radio stations act as essential communication channels for enhancing last mile of outreach of the government. Plans are underway to ensure expansion of the community radio network to each district of the country. CRS plays a significant role in dissemination of agriculture related information, government schemes for people’s welfare, weather forecast, and the like. CRS are expected to produce at least 50 percent of their programs locally, as far as possible in local languages or dialects. More than 260 community radio stations across India, broadcasting in various languages including local dialects, give marginalized communities a platform to make their voice heard and an opportunity to express their views.