Indian PM for using Community Radio to address farmers’ needs

“All agricultural colleges should own a radio station because farmers listen to radio a lot,” the Indian Prime Minister said.

Realising the importance of Community Radio in spreading awareness at the grassroots level, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged agricultural colleges for using this tool for the benefit of farmers.

Addressing scientists at the 86th ICAR Foundation Day, Modi talked about thinking out of the box and providing solutions which would ensure implementation for helping the system.

Suggesting that scientists should use radio stations effectively, he said “All agricultural colleges should own a radio station because farmers listen to radio a lot.” He further suggested that, “Since agricultural colleges have the facility to apply for permission to set up a Community Radio Station, students can be provided work in house to research and talk on radio. Through this tool farmers’ problems can be addressed by providing solutions which have been offered by the farmers of the same area.”

He stressed on the fact that, “instead of spending crores of money as investment, programmes produced by college students for spreading awareness amongst farmers would be more credible and popular.”

According to the current Community Radio situation of operational Community Radio Stations only 12 operational radio stations belong to either Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and agricultural colleges or institutes.

Out of the 175 operational Community Radio Stations 163 permissions have been issued to NGOs or educational institutes and the remaining few licenses have been granted to agricultural institutes or Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

Though around 208 applications received for the grant of setting up a Community Radio Station are through Krishi Vigyan Kendras or agricultural institutes, only 12 operational Community Radio Stations seems like a dot on the map of India.

The delay in issuing permissions has also been due to the pendency created by the Ministry of Agriculture in giving clearances to more than 50 applications approximately. This dream also remains unfulfilled because of the delay created by the Wireless Coordination Wing of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in issuing frequencies for more than 80 Letter Of Intent (LOI) holders approximately.

For starters, the pendency of clearances of applications submitted should be prioritized by the Ministry of Agriculture on an urgent basis.  Also, for ensuring the increase in applications made by agricultural colleges and Krishi Vigyan Kendras, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting could tie hands with the Ministry of Agriculture and organise awareness generation consultations about Community Radio specially designed for KVKs and agricultural institutes.

Author: Rupica Saxena Bisht, CRFC/ OneWorld