HRD Min plan of edu TV channels hits roadblock

New Delhi: An ambitious plan of the HRD Ministry to launch 1,000 educational television channels has hit a roadblock after it failed to get the required permission from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. The HRD Ministry had first initiated steps to launch 50 round-the-clock channels and had approached the I&B Ministry for permission for uplinking and downlinking the channels.

Senior officials told PTI that the I&B Ministry, however, held back its permission to launch the channels as they failed to meet one crucial requirement. According to the I&B Ministry`s uplinking and downlinking guidelines for television channels, an applicant seeking permission for a TV channel should be a company registered in India under the Companies Act, 1956.

The HRD Ministry is not a company and consequently does not meet this criterion, officials said. I&B Secretary Uday Kumar Varma confirmed the development. "We have written to the HRD Ministry about the requirements that are laid down under the uplinking and downklinking guidelines," Varma told PTI.

It is learnt that the HRD Ministry, which had started the process for setting up the infrastructure for the 50 Direct- To-Home (DTH) channels, was yet to revert to the I&B Ministry. While channels like Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV are treated as exceptional cases, the I&B Ministry was of the view that to start channels, government agencies should create entities under the Companies Act first.

The HRD Ministry, however, had hoped that permission would be granted to the 50 channels at the earliest after it had received an assurance from the Department of Space assuring the use of two 36 MHz KU Band transponders in communication satellite GSAT 8 for the channels, sources said.

The proposed channels were a part of the National Mission of Education through Information and Communication Technology initiative. The HRD Ministry had even asked the country`s premier educational institutions to prepare lectures and educational material that can be telecast once the channels are launched, the sources said.