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DD to launch spl channel for agri programmes
New Delhi: To give wider publicity to UPA government’s flagship social sector initiatives, ministry of rural development has decided to have a dedicated TV channel, which would focus on programmes relating to agriculture, water, and sanitation issues, amongst others.

According to a senior ministry official, the rural development ministry is still working out the modalities in close co-ordination with the ministry of information and broadcasting for launch of the dedicated TV channel.

“As we get the biggest chunk of financial allocation for the social sector initiatives, we would like to disseminate information about the flagship programmes for ensuring better implementation and accountability,” a rural development official told FE.

According to sources in the I&B ministry, the government may transform one of the existing Doordarshan channels for this purpose.

Doordarshan currently operates 17 channels including DD National, DD News, DD India, DD Sports and DD Bharti and has been actively looking at reshaping the programming of several of the key channels.

<img style="margin: 0px 10px 0px 0px; float: left;" src="" />However, a dedicated channel for this purpose is likely as the rural development gets a budgetary allocation of more than Rs 80,000 crore for running mega programme including Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MHNREGA), Swarnjayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana, Indira Awaas Yojana.

“A portion of this budget could be used for developing the communication strategy for the social section initiatives,” the official said.

The rural development ministry is expected to allocate financial resources after discussing with the information and broadcasting ministry.

According to estimates, there will be requirement of Rs 25-30 crore initially for the proposed launch of such a channel.

On the commercial viability of the tv channel, the rural development ministry official said that with more than 65% of country’s population living in the rural areas, the programme would focus on rural issues which would naturally attracts advertisers such as consumer goods and FMCG companies.

This is significant because recently Doordarshan celebrated the success of its flagship agriculture-based show ‘Krishi Darshan’. According to Doordarshan officials, ‘Krishi Darshan’ manages to rake in Rs 100 crore every year in revenues. The proposed channel may model a number of its own television content on Krishi Darshan, sources said.

“We need to develop enough creating programmes for the rural masses,” Ambika Soni, information and broadcasting minister said.

On a recent visit to Assam, Soni had called for not just the strengthening of the infrastructure of Doordarshan and All India Radio but a greater emphasis on content meeting the requirements of the local diaspora. “The I&B minister announced a special package of Rs 110 crore for setting up of communications infrastructure that will us in reaching out to the people in the north-east,” a senior official said.

Source: The Financial Express

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