The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Radio revolution for high-flier schools

New Delhi, Oct. 18: Top bracket educational institutions will be allowed to set up their own private radio stations after a move initiated by the Union information and broadcasting ministry receives security and financial clearances.

Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and residential schools will be allowed to set up radio stations in what information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj claimed will herald a “Radio Revolution”. The ministry has received some proposals already but since a policy decision was required to be taken, they would have to wait.

Swaraj said today she has begun inter-ministerial consultations on the matter and was hopeful that this will be cleared shortly. The home and human resources development ministries would be involved in examining the feasibility.

Premier institutes in the West and the developed world are known to have their own “micro” radio and television stations.

The information and broadcasting minister said the ministry was also in the process of opening three museums — a museum of moving images (cinema), a broadcasting museum and a museum of print.

A small beginning for the broadcasting museum has already been made in a room at the Broadcasting House, currently the headquarters of the All India Radio. The whole building will be given over to the museum after All India Radio moves to new premises.

Swaraj said the museum on moving images would store archival material on cinema, props and equipment. The museum on print would showcase the diversity of newspapers and journals in the country. There are newspapers in more than 100 languages in the country.

Recapping achievements in the three years of the NDA government, Swaraj said her ministry had presided over a channel boom in the country. “When we took over, there were just eight television channels and none of them could uplink from India. After we allowed domestic uplinking and decided to turn India into an uplinking hub, there are now 77 channels who have permission to telecast signals from the country,” she added.

A total of 16 companies had applied for permission to set up teleports — bases with multiple uplinking facilities.

The government’s policy on allowing Direct-To-Home telecasting has finally got a response from the industry, nearly two years after the sector was opened up for foreign investment.

There are two applications — one each from Space Television and another from ASC Enterprises, a Zee associate — for beginning DTH transmission. The applications are yet to be cleared after consultations with the home ministry.

Swaraj said the NDA government had accorded industry status to films and last year, the Industrial Development Bank of India had given about Rs 100 crore as loan for producing films.

Despite the complexities involved in financing cinema, the bank has been reporting good recoveries, she added. Indian exports of films, too, had more than quadrupled in three years — from Rs 200 crore to Rs 900 crore.

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