The government will soon conduct an e-auction of 808 FM radio stations across 284 cities to further increase the footprint of radio communication, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said on Sunday.
The government has also eased the processes for getting a licence to operate radio stations, particularly community radio, by reducing the number of compliances, Thakur told the Regional Community Radio Sammelan (North).
India has 388 FM radio stations in 113 cities across 26 states and five Union Territories. “The government is now planning a third batch of e-auction of 808 channels across 284 cities soon to expand radio services,” the minister said.
The government is setting up radio towers in remote areas to further improve coverage and plans to expand the FM network in Tier-II and Tier-III cities with a focus on aspirational and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts.
Earlier this year, the government approved the Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development scheme, which is expected to increase the coverage of AIR FM transmitters in the country to 66 per cent by geographical area and 80 per cent by population up from 59 per cent and 68 per cent respectively.
The scheme also envisages free distribution of more than eight lakh DD Free Dish set-top boxes to people living in remote, tribal, LWE affected and border areas.