New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat is likely to be featured as All India Radio’s (AIR) tableau at the 2018 Republic Day parade, two people familiar with the plans said.

AIR, owned by public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, has received initial approvals and developed the tableau, said one of the two people mentioned above, on the condition of anonymity.

“Mann Ki Baat is the flagship programme of All India Radio and the broadcaster wants to feature it," said this person.

In the run-up to the 69th Republic Day, the broadcaster has also planned an extensive coverage of the 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), who will be in India for a summit (on 25 January), marking 25 years of India-Asean collaboration. These 10 leaders will also be chief guests at the Republic Day parade.

“The Republic Day will be celebrated with leaders of all 10 Asean countries coming to India as chief guests. This is the first time 10 leaders will grace the celebrations as chief guests," Modi said in his latest Mann Ki Baat address on 31 December.

So far, AIR has aired 39 episodes of the show, which was launched in October 2014. As of March 2017, Mann Ki Baat had earned close to Rs10 crore in revenue via advertisements.

The show is aired (after the original broadcast in Hindi) in 18 languages and 33 dialects. AIR currently operates a total of 420 radio stations, including FM channels (FM Gold and FM Rainbow), local radio stations, Vividh Bharati stations and five community radio stations. AIR’s external services division also broadcasts to more than 108 countries.

“It’s the first time that AIR is doing something like this (Mann Ki Baat tableau). It is a good idea as it will help AIR popularize the show and further reach out to the remotest parts of the country. The tableau will definitely help the reach of Mann Ki Baat," said a former information and broadcasting ministry official, requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, state-owned television Doordarshan (also run by Prasar Bharati) has also planned special programming to welcome Asean leaders and to cover Republic Day celebrations.

Doordarshan has planned high-definition coverage of the Republic Day parade with close to 40 cameras this year in a bid to increase viewership. In 2017, the broadcaster had seen a 15 times increase in its average viewership as India celebrated its 68th Republic Day.

For the year ended 31 March, Doordarshan recorded net revenue of Rs827.51 crore, surpassing its annual target of Rs800 crore. The broadcaster earned Rs755 crore in 2015-16. All India Radio earned Rs455 crore in annual revenue for the year 2016-17, up from Rs447 crore in 2015-16.

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