Similar requests have emerged from several UPA ministers to the government expressing their keenness to start TV channels to make the common man aware of the “ministries’ achievements” and “people friendly policies”. Mamata was the first among the lot who wanted a dedicated channel to propagate her and her party’s views.
Among the ministers who want themselves and their ministries featured on TV are agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, Jairam Ramesh (rural development), Kapil Sibal (HRD) and culture minister Kumari Selja. Sources have been quoted as saying that the ministries were of the view that dedicated channels were required considering the specialised nature of their domains.
The sources commented, “It was felt that the national broadcaster [Doordarshan] was unable to do justice to the demands of these ministries.”
The Human Resources Department Ministry is understood to have written to the Department of Space requesting two transponders from ISRO towards plans to start 50 subject-specific interactive education channels that will telecast lectures by experts.
The Agriculture Ministry, on the other hand, has proposed a dedicated farming channel considering that more than 70 per cent of the Indian population dependent on farming. The NCP chief-led ministry has communicated that more technical programmes regarding agriculture needs to be telecasted frequently for the benefit of all. It also added that programmes like Krishi Darshan on Doordarshan were not equipped to deal with the needs of today’s agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, the Culture Ministry wants to “document the diversity of our country for future generations” and has also cited that similar channels run in other countries.
The proposals are, however, stuck at the proposal level before the planning commission. The commission is taking it easy for the time being since the cost of setting up each channel would cost close to Rs 200 crore each.