The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will invest Rs 3,500 crore on upgrading Prasar Bharati’s broadcast infrastructure and network development, especially in border areas.

The proposal has been recommended by the Expenditure Finance Committee and is up for approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). These funds will be used to strengthen the transmission in the border areas by augmenting the broadcast infrastructure so as to counter anti-terrorist activities, among other initiatives.

The Ministry is learnt to be already monitoring this project through inter-ministerial meetings with representatives from the Ministries of Home Affairs, External Affairs, Defence, and the Cabinet Secretariat, among others.

These funds will be also be used for digitisation of transmitters and studios of All India Radio and Doordarshan, High Definition TV, expansion of DD Direct to Home and modernisation of DD and AIR network. It will also be used for expansion of FM services by AIR, among other measures.

However, expansion of TV coverage to border areas will be a priority, sources said. This includes areas in Jammu and Kashmir and North-Eastern states. At the moment, 273 TV transmitters are functioning in border districts. In J&K, five high power TV transmitter projects are under implementation, while plans are afoot to put in more transmitters in the Indo-Nepal border.

Among other initiatives, the setting up of Recruitment Board and framing of recruitment regulations to meet the large manpower requirements of the public broadcaster are in final stages. In the meantime, the Ministry had given permission to the public broadcaster to undertake recruitment for certain essential categories of the posts through Staff Selection Commission.

Last year, the Ministry had also got cabinet approval for the financial restructuring package for Prasar Bharati to clean up the balance sheet. The Government will also undertake the entire expenditure of salary and salary-related items up to 2016-17.

(This article was published on December 20, 2013)
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