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Indian cabinet approves big upgrade for Prasar Bharati

(Photo: Mr Anurag Thakur, Minister of Information and Broadcasting)

The Indian cabinet has approved the equivalent of more than US$306 million to improve the broadcast infrastructure and network of the country’s public broadcaster, Prasar Bharati.

The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Anurag Thakur, announced the allocation of more than Rs2.5 billion to upgrade the broadcaster’s facilities on 4 January.

The ministry said the funding would cover the expansion and upgrading of its broadcasting infrastructure, content development and civil work up to 2025-26.

“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 the remote areas of the country through Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR),” it said.

“Prasar Bharati played a stellar role in communicating health messages and awareness to the public during the COVID pandemic.”

Among other things, the project aims to increase coverage of AIR FM transmitters in the country to 66 percent by geographical area, up from the current 59 percent, and 80 percent by population, up from the present 68 percent.

It will include the purchase of OB vans and the digital upgrading of Doordarshan and AIR studios to make them HD ready.

Mr Thakur said the scheme envisioned how Doordarshan should look 20 years from now.