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Prasar Bharati mulls over licence fee on radio, TV sets
BS Correspondent in Visakhapatnam |
March 21, 2003 13:18 IST
Prasar Bharati Corporation, an autonomous body is going to introduce ( read impose) the licence fee on television and radio sets in the country.
"We want to propose this in Prasar Bharati board meeting on April 9 and later it will be sent to the government approval, once the government approve this proposal, Prasar Bharati can collect the license fee on TV and radio sets," KS Sarma, the chief executive officer of the Prasar Bharati, disclosed this to media persons in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.
Currently, Prasar Bharati depends upon the government for means of revenue. To reduce this dependency, it is searching for new areas for revenue generation, Sarma said.
"Our yearly expenditure is Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion), during the current year, our earnings are nearly Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion) through advertisements both in radio and TV. And the remaining gap is being adjusted by the government, by way of grants and loans, which can be repayable with interest," he stated.
Prasar Bharati is targeting to increase the advertisements revenue by another Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) by the next two years. "Still we should depend on the government to run the organisation," Sarma added. Keeping this in view Prasar Bharati is eying licence fee on TV and radio sets, he stated.
According to estimates, there are 12.5 crore (125 million) of radio sets and 8 crore TV sets in the country. "If the government gives approval to our proposal, the licence fee collections will be a few hundred crores per annum," he said.
Doordarshan earned Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million) on World Cup advertisements. Prasar Bharati has nearly 30,000 spoken words cassettes including national leaders' speeches and 15,000 musical cassettes.
Now it is converting these cassettes into CDs, and the corporation plans to call open tenders to market the same. In order to generate more revenue, Prasar Bharati is giving its towers and other infrastructure facilities to private FM radio operators in the country on lease basis.
To produce the quality programs for DD, the corporation will spend Rs 500 crore in the tenth plan, he said. For this, it is inviting experts to produce good programmes. 2,500 program producers will be appointed on contract basis, he said.
Prasar Bharati produces programs for government departments like health, rural development and Insurance Regulatory Development Authority, which would be generating nearly Rs 115 crore (Rs 1.15 billion) revenue, he revealed.
To provide up-to-date information on radio and TV, the corporation has decided to appoint correspondents in all 600 districts in the country soon.
First time in the history of Doordarsan, a special team had gone to Iraq to cover the war news. So far, DD had been depending on BBC, CNN and other channels to cover such type of incidents, he pointed out.
First time in the country the Conditional Access System will be introduced in the four metros from July 14. If this system works well in metros, it will be introduced in other places in a phased manner, he revealed.
In CAS viewers have a choice, to select the channels what they interest with minimum charges, he said.