7.4.1 The Information and Broadcasting Sector has been witnessing a radical transformation in the past few years. Information technology has broken new frontiers and attained crucial importance. Given the technological advances and instant global reach, communications and the media have become an integral part of life. With the convergence of the communication, broadcasting and electronic technologies, the challenges faced by this sector are equally wide ranging in view of the rapidly changing media scenario and a fiercely competitive environment. The important issues confronting this sector range from regulating this sector for provision of free yet wholesome information and entertainment, to allowing enough freedom to the Government organisations in the field to enable them to perform effectively in the changed scenario. There is a necessity to review the whole gamut of the present system and refix priorities so as to evolve a policy suitable to the needs and interests of the people.
Review of the Eighth Plan
7.4.2 The principal objectives of the Eighth Plan for the broadcasting/telecasting sector were consolidation, technological modernisation and better and more relevant programming. As far as Information and Films Media are concerned the main thrust was on better services to the public.
7.4.3 The outlay for Information and Broadcasting sector for the Eighth Plan (1992-97) was Rs.3634.00 crore. However, owing to shortfall in utilisation in the initial years of the Eighth Plan, allocation for the different Annual Plans during 1992-97 was Rs.2391.00 crore and utilisation was Rs.2089.00 crore i.e. 87.39 per cent . Details of outlay and expenditure are at Annexure-7.4.1 & 7.4.2.
7.4.4 During the Eighth Plan period the broadcast and telecast media namely AIR and Doordarshan served as public broadcasters and contributed significantly to the socio- economic and cultural development of the country. The period 1992-97 witnessed a perceptible increase in reach and coverage by both AIR and Doordarshan. There were 128 Broadcasting Centres and 222 transmitters covering about 95 per cent of the population at the beginning of the Eighth Plan. During the Eighth Plan period, AIR set up 73 Broadcasting Centres (including 8 commissioned after 31.3.97; 2 upgraded Centres and 4 yet to be commissioned ) and 167 Transmitters (including 62 replacement transmitters; 8 commissioned after 31.3.97; 12 yet to be commissioned). This excludes 10 transmitters which were de-commissioned. At the end of the Eighth Plan 97 per cent of the population was covered. Similarly, Doordarshan had set up 20 studios and 535 transmitters covering about 77 per cent of the population at the beginning of the Eighth Plan. During the Eighth Plan period, Doordarshan commissioned 21 more studios (including 5 Studios technically ready before the beginning of Eighth Plan but commissioned during 1992-93) and 415 transmitters (HPTs: 25; LPTs : 286; VLPTs/Transposers : 104). Twenty nine transmitters were closed down during this period. Doordarshan thus extended its network to cover 87 per cent of the population of the country at the end of the Eighth Plan. The targets and achievements of the electronic media for the Eighth Plan period are at Annexure – 7.4.3.
7.4.5 During the Eighth Plan the involvement of the Government in the films sector remained important especially in the development of good cinema with socially relevant themes backed by artistic and technical excellence, the development of modern training infrastructure,encouraging the film society movement,providing impetus to the production of films for children and young people, establishing modern archival facilities for preservation of films, supporting the documentary film movement, recognising outstanding films and film makers and providing access to good films in India and abroad through National and International Film Festivals. In addition ,the Government has continued to regulate the exhibition of films through the Central Board of Film Certification so that the medium of film remains responsible and sensitive to the values and standards of society without unduly curbing artistic expression and creative freedom.
7.4.6 The Eighth Plan schemes for the information media included introduction of state-of-the-art technology in various areas and large scale expansion of the electronic media. Further, units such as the Song and Drama Division and the Directorate of Field Publicity helped to bridge the information gap in areas which have limited access to electronic and print media.
Thrust Areas for the Ninth Plan
All India Radio
7.4.7 As a public service broadcaster dedicated to the nation building process of this vast country, AIR has contributed significantly in the socio-economic and cultural development of the nation. The thrust in the Ninth Plan of AIR will be :
7.4.8 The Ninth Plan physical targets include setting up of 25 fullfledged and three Relay Broadcasting Centres; 10 Community Radio Stations; 28 Medium Wave, nine Short Wave and 28 VHF/FM transmitters; and three Studios. The scheme-wise break up is at Annexure – 7.4.4.
7.4.9 Though Doordarshan has emerged as the biggest terrestrial broadcasting network in the emerging electronic media scenario, it is no longer the sole provider of TV broadcast service in the country. The foremost task before Doordarshan during the coming years will ,therefore, be to take urgent steps not only to consolidate and maintain its primary position as the National Broadcaster responsible for Public Service Broadcasting in the country, but also to broaden its base.
7.4.10 The approach during the Ninth Plan would be:
7.4.11 For the Ninth Plan the physical targets include commissioning of 26 studio projects (23 of which are continuing schemes), 80 HPTs (14 continuing) and 422 LPTs/VLPTs (229 of which are continuing schemes). Details are at Annexure – 7.4.4.
7.4.12 In the light of the lessons learnt from the Eighth Plan the micro strategies for the various Media Units falling under the Information Sector are as follows:
Press Information Bureau (PIB)
7.4.13 The thrust will be on activities such as technological upgradation of communication equipment at headquarters and branches; opening of a branch office at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh; and schemes to cater to the needs of the language press and to integrate the three news gathering streams of the Ministry in terms of technology and manpower.
Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP)
7.4.14 In the face of stiff competition from vibrant advertising agencies in the private sector, DAVP envisages strengthening of the audio visual cell for providing better design inputs, strengthening of exhibition facilities; modernisation of DAVP headquarters and regional offices and creation of software for publicising Government policies and developmental efforts.
7.4.15 The Division will continue with the modernisation efforts and take up activities such as upgradation of Desk Top Publishing - hardware and software; putting Publications Division on the Internet; publication of special volumes related to heritage, etc. on the occasion of 50 years of Independence; human resource development and training; modernisation of marketing set-up and exploring areas of income generation on the lines of Employment News.
Song & Drama Division
7.4.16 This Division proposes to concentrate on the following areas: extensive use of traditional modes of media, sound/light shows etc.; modernisation of programme designing facilities; and utilising less popular folk art forms especially those of the North-East and strengthening of headquarters.
Directorate of Field Publicity (DFP)
7.4.17 The strategy of DFP would include strengthening the Organisation and increasing its coverage, replacement of 16 mm projectors with portable video projector systems, computerisation of regional offices and purchase of films and creation of local software for effective communication and streamlining the feedback mechanism and its development as an input in developmental programmes.
7.4.18 Photo Division will continue the modest beginning it made with its modernisation through introduction of digital photography. Archival work will also receive priority.
Indian Institute of Mass Communications (IIMC)
7.4.19 IIMC and its branches will be strengthened to meet the specialised training needs of the media units. Modernisation and expansion of facilities for Radio and TV journalism and video projection are also envisaged.
7.4.20 The films sector provides a major source of information, education and entertainment to millions of people both in the rural and urban areas besides providing employment, both directly and indirectly, to lakhs of workers. The industry has also contributed considerably to the development of infrastructure in production, exhibition and other related areas.
7.4.21 The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting provides the necessary interface between the film industry and the Government particularly in the context of promoting meaningful socially relevant films. The direct involvement of the Government has remained important especially in respect of developmental aspects of this sector.
7.4.22 The goals and objectives of the Films sector would primarily relate to:
7.4.23 The experiences of the Eighth Five Year Plan have guided the strategies and policies to be adopted for achieving the objectives for the Ninth Five Year Plan. An increasing involvement of the Government in the film industry is envisaged. The regulatory mechanism through the CBFC would be strengthened by increasing manpower. Aggressive marketing of films produced by Films Division is required as their market abroad is very promising. A third important area is augmentation and modernisation of training facilities in the country specially in the fields of film and television production.
7.4.24 The broad strategies to be adopted for various Media Units under the Film sector would be as under:
7.4.25 The thrust would be to further augment and modernise the equipment base and create infrastructural facilities for undertaking additional activities in conformity with their objectives. The scientific preservation of films produced by the Division, which practically constitutes a visual record of the history of independent India, is also a priority area. There would be a gradual increase in the production of films in video format which is the requirement of the day keeping in view better exhibition opportunities over television.
National Film Archives of India (NFAI)
7.4.26 The National Film Archives of India would continue with its fundamental objective of conservation, preservation and restoration of films and would act as a repository of the documented history of Indian cinema. The Archives, would increase storage capacities by construction of additional vaults in addition to acquisition of more films.
Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune
7.4.27 The priority areas in the Ninth Plan would be augmentation and modernisation of the training infrastructure and training methods with a view to increase the output of trained manpower. FTII would also develop the available land with proper infrastructure and facilities for shooting which would be made available to outside producers on hire, thus generating revenue for the Institute. This would be a part of the long term strategy of making the Institute self-supporting.
Satyajit Ray Film amd Television Institute (SRFTI), Calcutta
7.4.28 The Institute has been set up basically to provide additional infrastructure to augment trained manpower in the film and television sectors. The Institute would introduce five additional disciplines of curriculum depending upon availability of infrastructure as well as resources. The other important agenda would be construction of hostel accommodation, staff quarters and accommodation for guest faculty.
National Centre for Children and Young People (NC'YP)
7.4.29 The NC’YP would endeavour to increase production of high quality software and ensure a wider and greater reach of their films. One of the important areas which NC'YP would undertake and implement is setting up of a modern complex at Hyderabad with various facilities for production, conservation, and exhibition of children's films. The land for this purpose has already been acquired.
National Film Development Corporation (NFDC)
7.4.30 During the Ninth Plan, the NFDC would continue to be responsible for developing the film sector especially in the area of production of low cost good quality feature films with socially relevant themes. While doing so, it would encourage new talent and would encourage films which are creative and artistic having experimentation in form. The Corporation is primarily engaged in four areas which continue to be its thrust areas, namely, film financing/production, theatre financing , imports and projects. The Corporation would not depend upon budgetary support.
Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF)
7.4.31 The Directorate would continue organising the International Film Festival of India and other events to promote and encourage good cinema in India and abroad. It would also undertake activities of recognising outstanding talent through the institution of National Awards and activities covered under cultural exchange programmes. It is necessary for the Government to undertake organisation of such activities so that the good cinema movement is promoted actively.
Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)
7.4.32 The CBFC would implement its continuing programmes and schemes which mainly relate to augmenting the infrastructural facilities at headquarters and regional offices. This has become necessary as the number of productions is steadily increasing and consequently the workload of CBFC is increasing as well. CBFC would also create separate video certification units in the regional offices. The production in video format has been increasing steadily.
Film Society Movement: Federation of Film Societies of India(FFSI)
7.4.33 The Federation of Film Societies of India, an apex body of film societies in the country, is given grant-in-aid to propagate film consciousness and development of audience taste in cinema. The FFSI plays a vital role in the spread of the film society movement in the country.
7.4.34 The financing pattern for this sector witnessed a complete change in the Eighth Plan period. The outlay for the Seventh Plan was almost fully financed by budgetary support. As against this, budgetary support comprised only 11.5 per cent of the approved outlay for the Eighth Plan and internal and extra-budgetary resources accounted for 88.5 per cent.
7.4.35 The internal resources of the Ministry are primarily generated from the commercial revenues of Doordarshan and AIR. These, after adjusting the running expenditure on commercial services including payment of commission, are placed in a `Non Lapsable Fund' (NLF), which was constituted in 1975 to enable AIR and Doordarshan to utilise the commercial revenues for specific developmental needs. Part of these funds are being utilised for meeting Non-Plan expenditure. Due to this as well as the drastic reduction in budgetary support in the Eighth Plan, only limited funds were available to AIR and Doordarshan. Till the time the existing pattern of governmental accounting is continued, it is essential that funding of non-plan expenditure out of NLF be phased out and the additional provision be made available to these two organisations for meeting their plan requirements.
7.4.36 The funding of the Prasar Bharati Corporation will be one of the major issues in the Ninth Plan. The Corporation is likely to incur an expenditure of about Rs.1600-1800 crore a year which is the amount spent on plan and non-plan heads of both AIR and Doordarshan annually. The total commercial revenues of AIR and Doordarshan are likely to be in the range of Rs.700-800 crore per year. The gap of about Rs.1000 crore would have to be bridged. As Doordarshan is a public service broadcaster with substantial part of its programmes aimed at dissemination of news and information on developmental aspects such as education, health, agriculture, rural development, environment protection and so on, which are not likely to earn much revenue for the Corporation, it would be extremely difficult for the Corporation to increase its revenue to meet the gap. Therefore, the funding pattern of the Corporation would have to be worked out keeping in view its objectives and consequent constraints in revenue generation.
7.4.37 In order to enable Doordarshan to achieve nation-wide coverage with emphasis on meaningful programmes, it is essential that the financial support to the Corporation is in keeping with its social objectives. However, within the given circumstances all-out efforts need to be made to explore all available sources of resource generation so as to make the Corporation self-supporting as soon as possible.
7.4.38 The media units in the information sector are dependent entirely on budget support. While budgetary support will have to be provided, as most of these organisations serve public interest, expenditure would need to be curbed by ensuring that there is no duplication of efforts by Central and State level organisations. Improving the quality of services through training and upgradation of technology is also imperative. However, training should be essentially funded through fees and sponsorship by industry with Government providing only basic support, if required, at the inception of a training Institute.
7.4.39 In the film sector, only the National Film Development Corporation will be self-financing during the Ninth Plan while the other media units are dependent solely on budget support. Although it is recognised that films have an important role to play, efforts have to be made to make this sector financially independent through sponsorship by the film industry itself. Units such as Central Board of Film Certification etc. would however continue to require budgetary support.
Issues and Strategies
7.4.40 During the Ninth Plan period two major issues which would have to be addressed are the use of Airwaves and Autonomy to All India Radio and Doordarshan.
(i) Broadcasting Authority of India
7.4.41 As a result of rapid technological developments, the monopoly of Doordarshan and All India Radio in matters of broadcasting have, of late, come under challenge from two angles. On the one hand, Government has allowed the reception of foreign TV channels through dish antennae with some regulations but without effective control. On the other hand, some of the organisers of major sporting events have approached the Apex Court and have been demanding the right to broadcasting as part of the freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of India, in one of their judgements on the airwaves, have observed that the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 which is the only legal framework available to guide and regulate broadcasting in India, is totally inadequate to govern the modern broadcasting media and have directed the Union of India to set up an independent autonomous body representative of all sections and interests in the society to regulate the use of airwaves.
7.4.42 Keeping in view the directions of the Apex Court, a comprehensive Bill on Broadcast Law was placed before the Parliament in the 11th Lok Sabha. A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) was constituted to examine the same. Before the JPC could submit its report, the 11th Lok Sabha was dissolved. With the dissolution of the 11th Lok Sabha, the proposed bill is required to be re-introduced in the 12th Lok Sabha. Efforts are being made in this direction.
7.4.43 In the proposed Broadcast Law, mandatory uplinking from Indian soil for all Indian and foreign channels was envisaged in due course. In the recent past, Government have permitted various Indian and foreign channels to uplink signals from India on the occasion of General Elections, funeral of Mother Teresa, celebration of certain events pertaining to 50 Years of India's Independence, etc. At present, precious foreign exchange is being expended by Indian satellite channels to provide for uplinking their programmes from foreign soils. In order to save the outflow of foreign exchange on this account and also to monitor the content of the programmes proposed to be uplinked from Indian soil, it has been decided to permit uplinking facilities from India in a phased manner. Towards this direction, it has been decided to permit Indian satellite channels which are presently uplinking from abroad and are taking foreign exchange releases for this purpose to uplink their programmes from India through Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (Indian Satellite channels being defined as those entities in which the Indian equity is at least 80 per cent and which are effectively managed by resident Indians).
(ii) Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India)
7.4.44 The country requires a strong public broadcasting service. Further, the media should be free from Government control so that citizens can exercise their fundamental right to freedom of expression and have access to plurality of news, views and information in an unbiased manner. Freedom of media from Government control is also important for an effective and enlightened democracy in so far as it ensures that access to media is not the privilege of the political party in power alone. Keeping these important objectives in view, Doordarshan and AIR have been put under an autonomous body, namely the Prasar Bharati with effect from the 23rd November, 1997. The Prasar Bharati is envisaged to be the Public Service Broadcaster in the country. In order to serve this end it cannot be run on commercial lines alone. Therefore, till such time the revenues of the Corporation become buoyant, financial support from the Government will need to be continued.
7.4.45 The Prasar Bharati Act, 1990 was amended by an Ordinance on 29.10.97. These amendments were continued by the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Amendment Second Ordinance , 1997 promulgated on 26.12.97. The Amendment Second Ordinance lapsed on 6.5.98.
7.4.46 The Government had introduced a Bill in the Lok Sabha on 1.6.98 to restore the provisions of the original Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act, 1990 in toto. The Bill was considered and passed by the House on 31st July, 1998. Since the Bill could not be considered in the Rajya Sabha in the same session, the Prasar Bharati ( Broadcasting Corporation of India) Amendment Ordinance, 1998 was promulgated on 29.8.98 to give effect to the provisions of the Bill.
Science and Technology Programmes
7.4.47 The focus of the schemes to be undertaken by the Research Department of Doordarshan and All India Radio during the Ninth Plan period will be on the development of systems which are not available in the open market, formulation of plans for introduction of new services and technologies in networks and also development of broadcast related consumer electronic products. Schemes relating to development of studio systems in the field of audio involving introduction of pilot projects relating to model digital studio centres in some AIR FM stations, interactive radio services, development of optomagnetic based editing system for programme production/post production, preparation of `Code of Practice' on measurement aspects for digital studios and digital chain, development of sub-systems and integration of hardware and software for News Room automation in radio studios and usage of Internet for improving news collection would be taken up. For video systems, development of multi-colour logo generators both for Doordarshan and for multi-purpose requirements is envisaged alongwith software based systems for graphics relating to sports coverage in computer network mode.
7.4.48 Improvements in transmission techniques are proposed to be undertaken for better coverage of radio signals by conducting experiments/field trials and formulating plans on `Terrestrial Digital Audio Broadcasting' in major centres. Adoption of digital technology for programme distribution through satellite mode, enhancement of quality in the existing AM/FM transmission and data broadcasting through FM sub-carrier and satellite medium by establishing information booths for interactive multi-lingual access of information for both radio and television are also envisaged. Transmission of multi channels through Satellite-Digital Video Compression techniques is to be improved for better television coverage.
7.4.49 During the Ninth Plan, further schemes are proposed for indigenising the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) receiver, developing an integrated receiver decoder conforming to MPEG II standard with multiple video, audio and data output, as well as the development of software for acoustics of studios, interaction with other agencies on Information Super Highway concept in India and introduction of a pilot project on low cost studios.
7.4.50 The R&D schemes of Doordarshan will include News gathering through cellular phones, ghost cancellation, remote monitoring of LPTs/VLPTs etc., Doordarshan Video on Internet, Pilot projects for introduction of Digital Terrestrial Transmission, News Automation for major centres, Archive of Video materials and Video-on-Demand during the Ninth Plan period to improve quality of transmission and better management of television network.
7.4.51 Publicity support and information dissemination pertaining to the developmental programmes undertaken by the Government for the benefit of people in general, including women are undertaken by the various Media Units. Publicity is also being provided to developmental schemes which are women specific in their content and focus. This would continue to be provided during the Ninth Five Year Plan. Programmes on issues of specific interest to women will continue to be produced by associating competent women producers and broadcast/telecast in local dialects at timings convenient for the target audience.
Tribal Sub Plan/Special Component Plan
7.4.52 Special efforts are made by various media units to create awareness and disseminate information using different programme formats keeping in view the special needs of SCs/STs and also to remove the existing socio-economic and political imbalances. Though the reach of the electronic media, namely, All India Radio and Doordarshan includes the entire population in its coverage, including SC & ST groups, special efforts are proposed to improve transmission to areas which have a predominantly tribal population.
7.4.53 A number of radio stations/transmitters and VLPTs/LPTs/HPTs for better coverage are also proposed to be set up in remote , tribal and hilly areas of the country, especially in the North East, during the Ninth Plan. Various welfare schemes of the Central and State Governments relating to SCs/STs are also given publicity from AIR stations. In Employment News, information relating to vacancies reserved for SCs/STs is included. AIR also broadcasts tribal welfare programmes as well as other programmes in tribal dialects. Moreover, replacement of transmitters in tribal areas by those of same or higher power, has also been proposed during the Ninth Plan.
7.4.54 All Tribal Sub Plan districts are covered by TV service fully/partially. Out of 386 transmitters commissioned in the country during the Eighth Plan period, 116 were commissioned in TSP districts. One hundred and twenty four projects are under implementation in TSP districts. Two studios and 50 HPTs, LPTs and VLPTs are proposed (approved locations) in TSP districts.
7.4.55 The Press Information Bureau (PIB) formulated two schemes exclusively for tribals during the Ninth Five Year Plan namely, opening of branch office of PIB in North Eastern region and coordinating and organising Press parties from tribal areas. Under the Scheme `Opening of Branch Office', it is proposed to set up one branch office of PIB at Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh). Under the Scheme `Coordinating and Organising Press Parties from Tribal areas', it is proposed to take small groups of journalists from tribal areas to places where economic and welfare activities are being undertaken and to show them how the Government's social justice programmes help in improving the living standard of the population.
7.4.56 Publications Division disseminates information through books and magazines. Articles on various developmental policies and programmes undertaken by the Government for upliftment of the weaker sections particularly SCs and STs are published in the journals of the Division. The Ninth Plan schemes include publication of ‘Yojana’ in Assamese and Mobile bookshops for NE region.
7.4.57 The Directorate of Field Publicity(DFP) is a grass root level organisation through which weaker sections have the opportunity to seek clarifications and pose further queries about various Government schemes affecting them. A large part of the Directorate's activities are aimed at SC/ST population. Of its 260 field units, several are located in tribal areas, covering all 18 TSP states. The publicity activity in these areas is geared towards the specific socio- economic needs of the tribal people. During the Ninth Plan new units are also proposed to be set up in tribal areas. DFP also proposed to undertake conducted tours, purchase of Portable Video Projector systems and computerisation under tribal sub plan.
7.4.58 The Song and Drama Division has also formulated schemes to ensure flow of benefits to SCs and STs through promotion of artistes belonging to these categories during the Ninth Five Year Plan. Schemes which would benefit the SCs and STs include the following:
7.4.59 In the Films sector, the Film and Television Institutes of India, at Pune and Calcutta, provide and will continue to provide adequate representation to personnel from tribal areas in their training programmes which are proposed to be taken up in the Ninth Five Year Plan. The National Centre of Films for Children and Young People produces films for children. The Centre attaches considerable importance to the exhibition of films in tribal belts. The National Film Development Corporation extends financial assistance to production of films and construction of theatres in the North Eastern Region. The Films Division would also continue to make featurettes and documentaries based on themes from tribal areas and North - Eastern region during the Ninth Plan.
-Source: Economic Times