Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar Saturday said India will soon become the largest country in the world where every household has a television set. “There is a new dream that every household will have a TV in the coming years. There are 25 crore households in India and 18 crore have a TV set. There are still seven crore households without a TV,” Javadekar said here. The Union minister was addressing a function to launch distribution of free Dish TV set top boxes in Kashmir, besides unveiling the signature tune of Doordarshan’s satellite channel for Jammu and Kashmir DD Kashir. Javadekar also launched the first news bulletin in Dogri that will be aired on DD Kashir on a daily basis from Saturday evening.
“Today, we are making a small beginning in which we are giving settop boxes of free Dish TV for people living in far flung areas and to poor people. However, as soon as our economy develops people will buy a TV as soon as they are able to address the six basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education and livelihood,” the minister said.
He said in near future, India will be the largest nation with TV in every household. “This is my belief.”
Javdekar said television has seen massive expansion over the past three decades with mushrooming of channels in late 1990s while Doordarshan being the only channel in 1970s.
“Today we have more than 700 TV channels on various fields. There was revolution in this field after private channels come up in 1992-93,” he said.
The minister gave credit for the spread of TV across the country to the introduction of cable TV.
“The cable connected one home to another, then one locality to the next, and it ended up connecting the people as well. Even today, there are nine crore households where cable TV is watched,” he said.
He said the cable spread was fast and due to the fact that there was no interference of the government in it.
“People used to say, and which to an extent is true, that cable spread an it became a cable revolution not despite government but because the government was not there,” he added.
The minister expressed happiness that nearly nine crore people were accessing TV content through DTH services.
“There are five to six major operators and they put together have 5.5 crore connections. The biggest DTH operator in the country is Doordarshan with 3.5 crore DTH connections where we are giving free Dish,” he said.
Jitendra Singh, the Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office, told the gathering that free DTH connections will help in dissemination of information in border areas which are not well connected by roads or other communication means.
“People in border areas will get some relief. They will get an avenue of entertainment and the information that should reach them,” Singh said.
The Lok Sabha MP from Udhampur said the Dogri bulletin on DD Kashir satellite channel was a long pending demand of people in Jammu.
“Steps have been taken for promotion of Kashmiri language from time to time but similar steps for Dogri were delayed. Both Kashmiri and Dogri are rich but underrated langauges,” he said.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, who was also present on the occasion, said the distribution of free dish connections was a massive outreach programme which will save people falling prey to fake news and false propaganda.