The government on Thursday approved the Rs 1,540 crore (Rs 15.40 billion) digitalisation programme for state-owned broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio in the 11th Plan to help meeting challenges posed by private operators.
The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) approved proposals of the Ministry of Broadcasting regarding the 11th Plan scheme of Doordarshan and AIR for digitalisation of transmitters, studio connectivity and network.
"This process of digitalisation of both Doordarshan and Akashvani (AIR) will enable the most vulnerable section of our people in the remotest of the remote areas to receive higher quality of AIR and Doordarshan signals," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said.
Soni said in the 11th Plan, Rs 620 crore (Rs 6.2 billion) has been earmarked for digitalisation of DD, while for AIR it is pegged at Rs 920 crore (Rs 9.2 billion).
In the case of Doordarshan, the programme will enable peopleto have a wider choice of channels, instead of eight channels and it could be extended to 10 channels and also get high definition TV, she added.
Underlining the need for digitalisation of AIR, Soni said, "With the proposed FM phase III policy, the FM would provide serious challenge to Akashvani services." She said after the approval of the FM III policy, private radio stations will start covering towns of population of over one lakh.
"Therefore, it is imperative that digitalisation of AIR network should take place as much as possible in the 11th Plan," Soni said.
For AIR, the scheme will involve replacement of MW transmitters by digital transmitters, digitalisation of studio/networking, new proposal for regional archives and up-gradation of central archives digitalisation archiving facilities and news room automation among others.
Under the scheme, Doordarshan will involve 40 digital terrestrial transmitters (DTTs), networking of DTT through satellite, digitalisation of archiving facilities, news room automation system, e-governance and IT scheme.