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Govt plans licence fee for radios, TV sets

October 05, 2005 17:57 IST
The Information and Broadcasting ministry on Wednesday favoured reviving of the licence fee for radios and television sets, or at least a one time tax, to make Prasar Bharathi financially viable.

"There is nothing wrong in people contributing to the expenses of the public broadcaster. This practice is prevalent in the UK and Japan, where fees are paid annually towards the expenses of BBC and NHK television," I&B Minister S Jaipal Reddy said addressing the 14th convention of the Association of Radio and Television Engineering Employees in Chennai.

He said Prasar Bharathi would continue to get government funding until it attained financial self-sufficiency.  He said Doordarshan and All India Radio were facing a funds shortage of Rs 1200 crore (Rs 12 billion) every year, even after their commercial income.

This amount was not huge for a country with a billion plus population, he said. Admitting that Prasar Bharathi could not be considered fully autonomous till it received government funding, he said the broadcasting and telecasting corporation enjoyed much more freedom than in the past.

He said the DTH service of Prasar Bharathi would have at least 50 channels soon, most of them private. It would go up to 100 next year, he said.

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