New Delhi: With a view to popularize the importance of local governance and panchayati raj, the Administrative Reforms Commission has recommended the radio broadcast as a most effective means for reaching out to the rural areas.
The Commission in its sixth report, ‘Local Governance´, has laid stress on strengthening the “third tier of governance” by raising awareness about the local bodies and panchayati raj institutions through effective media campaigns.
“A multi-pronged approach using different modes of communication like the print media, visual media, electronic media, folk art and plays should be adopted to disseminate information and create awareness about panchayati raj,” the Commission said in its report.
“It should be ensured that there is a convergence in approach to achieve synergies and maximize reach,” it added.
Underscoring the importance of radio broadcast in rural areas, the Commission headed by Veerappa Moily, said that visual media such as television has a limited utility on account of lack of rural electrification.
Print medium is handicapped because of poor literacy in rural areas which is 59.4% according to Census of India.
“This underlines the importance of medium of propagation through radio broadcasting both in terms of reach, which is 99.13% of local population, as well as cost involved,” the Commission said.
According to the Commision, radio is not dependent on availability of electricity in rural areas. Nearly 56.5% of rural households in the country have electricity connection, more so in states like Bihar (80.2%), Jharkhand (90%), Assam (83.5%), Orissa (80.6%), Uttar Pradesh (80.2%) and West Bengal (79.7%).
The Commission advised the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to “devise a mechanism” in consultation with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries concerned for effectively implementing the campaign.
“Rural broadcasting should become a full-fledged independent activity of All India Radio. Its units should be based in districts and the broadcasts should be primarily in the local language,” the Commission, in its report, said.
The programmes aired should focus on issues related to agriculture, rural development, panchayati raj institutions, public health, sanitation and education and local language broadcasts should be aimed at effectively reaching out to literate and illiterate population/s.