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8 lakh DD DTH sets to be distributed free in remote, border areas

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New Delhi [India]: The Broadcast Infrastructure Network Development (BIND) Scheme approved by the union cabinet earlier this week with an outlay of Rs 2539.61 crore for modernization and expansion of All India Radio and Doordarshan entails free distribution of over 8 lakh DD DTH Receiver sets in remote, tribal, LWE and border areas.

The outlay has been approved for a five-year period ending 2025-26 and the scheme aims to increase FM coverage to over 80 per cent by population in the country. A release from Information and Broadcasting Ministry said the plan includes priority projects of AIR and Doordarshan with focus on expansion and strengthening of the FM radio network and mobile TV production facilities amounting to Rs 950 crore which are to be completed on fast-track mode.

The plan aims at major upgradation to create better infrastructure and widen the public broadcaster’s reach in Left Wing Extremism-affected areas apart from border and strategic areas.

Development of high-quality content for both domestic and international audience, availability of diverse content by upgrading capacity of DTH platform to accommodate more channels will expand the choice available to the audience, the release said.

The plan also aims at expansion of FM network primarily in tier II & tier-III cities with focus on LWE and aspirational districts.

Amongst the twin verticals of Prasar Bharati, AIR serves its listeners in country through 501 broadcasting centers with 653 transmitters (122 medium wave, 7 short wave and 524 FM) giving world services, neighbourhood services, 43 Vividh Bharati Channels, 25 rainbow Channels and 4 FM Gold channels.

Doordarshan serves its viewers with 66 Doordarshan Kendras producing 36 DD channels, disseminating through various delivery platforms such as cable, DTH, IPTV ‘NewsOnAIR” mobile app, various YouTube channels and with its international channel DD India having a global presence in 190+ countries on various platforms.

The release said that several major activities have been planned under the BIND Scheme. For All India Radio, these include increasing the FM coverage in the country to 66.29 per cent by geographical area and 80.23 per cent by population.

It also includes increasing the coverage of FM to 63.02 per cent from the existing 48.27 per cent along the Indo-Nepal border and increasing FM coverage from 62 per cent to 76 per cent along the Jammu and Kashmir border.

A 20 kw FM transmitter will be installed at 300 m tower at Rameswaram to cover an area of 30,000 sq.km.

For Doordarshan, it includes face Lift of DD & AIR Channels by installing latest broadcasting and studio equipment at Prasar Bharati facilities and upgrading earth stations at DDK Vijayawada and Leh to 24 hours channel.

It also includes rolling out of fly away units for covering the prestigious national ceremonies or events and “for VVIP coverages”.

Twenty eight regional Doordarshan channels to be upgraded as High-Definition programme production-capable Kendras.

Thirty one regional news units in entire Doordarshan network will be upgraded and modernized with latest equipment for efficient news gathering.

Upgrading and replacement of earth stations at DDK Guwahati, Shillong, Aizawl, Itanagar, Agartala, Kohima, Imphal, Gangtok and Port Blair for uplinking HDTV channels.

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