|8th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)||<<
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Agricultural and Allied Activities || Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation || Irrigation, Command Area Development and Flood Control || Environment and Forests || Industry and Minerals || Village and Small Industries and Food Processing Industries || Labour and Labour Welfare || Energy || Transport || Communication, Information and Broadcasting || Education, Culture and Sports || Health and Family Welfare || Urban Development || Housing, Water Supply and Sanitation || Social Welfare || Welfare and Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes || Special Area Development Programmes || Science and Technology || Plan Implementation and Evaluation
COMMUNICATION, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING
10.1.1 Efficient and well developed communication system has become synonymous with modernity and economic growth. For developing countries like India, it is one of the critical inputs which would determine the pace of socio-economic transformation of society. Telecommunication and Posts are the two main constituents of any modern communication system.
10.1.2 India has the largest number of post offices in the world. In 1989, the latest year for which comparable data are available, there were 1.45 lakh post offices in the country, which was way ahead of USA (40,031), China (50,811), France (17,099) and South Korea (3,125) - to name a few. The numbers themselves do not convey much. They have to be seen in juxtaposition to the service they render. An average Indian post office serves an area of 22 sq km and 5,450 inhabitants, compared to 5079 sq km and 15,830 persons in Saudi Arabia, 1,746 sq km and 3,555 persons in Australia, 1,275 sq km and 49,099 persons in Iraq, 229 sq km and 6172 persons in USA, 188 sq km and 21,883 persons in China and 62 sq km and 8056 persons in Pakistan.
10.1.3 Not only is the postal network well spread out, the delivery system also compares favourably with other countries. India is among the few countries where all mail, irrespective of nature and destination, is delivered at home. Singapore, Hong Kong, France and South Korea are some others. This is not so even in USA, Australia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The burden cast by this service on the postal system can best be judged in the light of the volume of mail handled by the system. In 1989, the volume of domestic mail was 130 billion articles, which was lower than only USA (1597 billion), Japan (200 billion) and France (190 billion). In fact, most Asian countries other than Japan, did not have even half of the volume of traffic compared to India.
10.1.4 Postal savings play pivotal role in the national resource mobilisation effort. It is one of the biggest savings institution in the country operating 9.43 crore accounts and the single largest contributor to national savings, accounting for 43.7% of gross domestic savings (1989-90). It is also the most important means of mobilising household savings especially in the rural areas as it accounts for about 53% of household savings. During the Seventh Plan, postal savings increased by 96%, from Rs.21,430 crore in 1985-86 to Rs. 41,900 crore in 1989-90.
10.1.5 The main area where considerable qualitative improvement in the Indian postal system is called for to bring it at par with international standard is mechanised handling of mails, productivity and speed. Leaving aside advanced countries like USA, Australia and Japan who, for obvious reasons, have a highly mechanised system, in these aspects India does not compare favourably even with developing countries like Egypt, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Achievements of the Seventh Plan
10.2.1 The number of post offices in the country rose from a mere 22,116 in 1947 to 1,47,236 at the end of the Seventh Plan. The rapid growth is the result of a conscious decision at the start of planned development, to spread the postal network widely in accordance with the social responsibility feature of the postal sector. Despite emphasis on size, both in terms of extent of the network and the volume of mail handled, the Indian postal system has been maintaining a high degree of customer satisfaction and integrity of the system. The number of complaints received normally has been as low as 0.004% of the total traffic handled. More important than this ratio is the fact that there has been a significant decline during the Seventh Plan in the number of complaints received. From 8,17,000 in 1985-86 it came down to 7,12,000 in 1987-88 and further to 7,10,000 in 1989-90.
10.2.2. Integrity of the system can also be measured in terms of loss and fraud cases registered. Apart from a fall in the number of such cases received over the years including the Seventh Plan period, the absolute number has remained extremely low. The total registered mail handled in 1984-85 was 304 million and the number of loss and fraud cases registered was a mere 508. In 1989-90 the corresponding figures were 291 million and 149 respectively.
10.2.3 The volume of mail handled by the postal system increased rapidly in the Seventh Plan period, and recorded an impressive growth rate of 26 percent. More than 90% of this traffic consisted of unregistered mail. Apart from mail, the system also undertakes transfer of money through money orders. However, over the years, there has been a gradual decline in the number of money orders issued, though the average value of the money orders has been rising by about 8% annually. This is largely due to the growth of rural banking network which provides an alternative and quick mode of transfer of money.
10.2.4 Having achieved a fair degree of spatial spread of the network, the need for modernising the system became imperative at the end of the Sixth Plan. The Seventh Plan marked a watershed in this regard. The scheme of Panchayat Dak Sewak was introduced during this Plan to improve the rural postal network. It involved the village panchayats in collection and distribution of mails. The progress, however, was not up to expectation. The Plan also saw introduction of Speed Post Service to compete with the private courier service and also to provide a comparatively faster and assured service to those who can afford. Modernisation of postal system makes it necessary to take recourse to mechanical aids to manage the ever growing volume of traffic. During the Seventh Plan, a beginning was made in this direction with introduction of elementary aids like multipurpose counter machines, bag dedusting equipment, digital weighing machines etc. Simultaneously, a project for installation of integrated mail sorting system at Bombay was undertaken, but the scheme did not make much headway during the Seventh Plan. Computerisation of postal system was also introduced on a modest scale in this period.
10.2.5 The Seventh Plan performance is not a success story in some other respects. There were shortfalls in several significant areas. Only 4,003 new post offices could be opened against the target of 6,000. Similarly, the achievement in installation of letter boxes was 39%, in construction of postal buildings 38% and in construction of staff quarters only 62 percent. The main reasons for shortfall in the achievement of physical targets were ban on the creation of posts, non availability of inputs and raw materials and other logistic and infrastructural constraints like scattered locations of buildings and non-execution of works by agencies entrusted with the job. These shortfalls led to substantial under-utilisation (nearly 22%) of annual allocations.
10.2.6 In the early stage of its development the postal service was conceived as a ' public utility' which met all expenditure from its own receipts. After independence, there was a change in the character of the service with the social aspect receiving considerable emphasis. In fact, the country's postal service has come to be viewed essentially as a social service. So much so, to the common man the post office is synonymous with (a) the presence of the Government and (b) the care and concern that the Government has for him. Consequently, strict commercial viability norms have not been followed and the system is now operating on a deficit. Though, in absolute terms the deficit had increased to more than Rs.1003 crore by the end of the Seventh Plan, the growth rate of net deficit which was 101 % between 1980-81 and 1985-86, was brought down considerably to 60% during the period 1985-86 to 1989-90.
10.2.7 In the Seventh Plan, Science and Technology activities were related mainly to equipment modernisation. Efforts were made to develop a prototype of the electronic weighing scale. PC-based multipurpose weighing machines were introduced on an experimental basis. Automatic sorting has been introduced in association with the Computer Maintenance Corporation (CMC). Development of lighter synthetic material, consisting of jute and high density polythene for making mail bags, and the development of necessary hardware and software for the electronic mail were the other important Research and Development activities.
10.3.1 The principal objective in the Eighth Plan would be to transform the postal system into a modern one with necessary technological inputs. New services based on modern technology will be introduced. The recommendations made by the Expert Committee on Excellence in Postal Services would provide the basic framework of modernisation effort during the Eighth Plan. Emphasis will also be laid on upgrading estates management and expansion of postal network to rural areas, not yet having postal facilities.
10.3.2 The main schemes of the Plan would be
10.3.3 The Eighth Plan outlay for Posts is Rs.325 crore. The scheme-wise break up of the approved outlay is presented in Annexure-10.1.
Problems and Strategy
10.4.1 A time has come when the mounting deficit of the postal system has to be addressed. The social character of the service should not be taken to be an open ended commitment to bear heavy deficits. Other than additional resource mobilisation, methods have to be devised to reduce deficits, contain working expenses and improve cost recovery. Since the volume of traffic handled is increasing steadily, better productvity is an answer to the mountng working expenses of which establishment alone accounts for more than 80 percent. So far, commercial considerations have received less importance in establishment of new post offices. Hence any village which has a population of at least 3000 and does not have a post office within a radius of 3 km, qualifies for one. in the case of hilly terrain, tribal and inaccessible areas, the population as well as distance criteria are relaxed. The post offices are expected to earn the minimum revenue of 33.33% of the cost in normal areas and 15% of the cost in hilly, tribal and inaccessible areas. Thus, while opening new post offices, the norms themselves build a deficit into the system and need to be reworked. Moreover, to limit the burgeoning establishment expenses, manpower for the new post offices should be found by redeployment of the existing staff or in the alternative, these may be opened only on an agency or contract basis.
10.4.2 The deficit is also attributable to the subsidized rates for a large number of postal articles and services. Low postal rates has starved the system of resources for development and has, thereby, led to deterioration in the quality of service and failure to introduce new services for which effective demand exists. The element of subsidy has to be rationalised and properly targetted so as not to cause a burden to the postal system. Closer attention also needs to be paid to proper remuneration for all functions performed by the postal system as an agent of the Government, such as small savings, postal savings bank and pension payment to railway pensioners. The strategy during the Eighth Plan will, therefore, be to bring about qualitative improvement through appropriate technology application as well as better generation of resources and further lowering of deficit through improved productivity and rationalized postal tariffs.
10.4.3 The Science and Technology efforts in the postal sector have been confined largety to the random supply of functional mechanical aids for almost 30 years. These efforts will be pursued to increase the productivity of its employees by upgrading their skills and adding more premium services to meet the communication needs. The science and technology initiatives proposed include introduction of automation in mail handling, PC - based counter machines, electronic mail service using telecommunication network, computerisation of Postal Life Insurance, Saving Bank, accounting and money order pairing work, installation of bag de-dusting machines, improvement in the quality of production of metallic stamps and the use of polymer stamps for counter transaction. Benefits from these measures would reach all sections of the people in the country.
10.5.1 A well functioning telecommunication network is an essential component of economic infrastructure. The application of modern telecommunications technology can raise productivity and efficiency in all sectors, apart from contributing to improving the quality of life.
10.5.2 Although, in the past Seven Plans, telecommunication has made rapid strides both in quantity and quality, its growth in India as compared to the developments in the world telecommunication can at best be termed modest. At the end of 1988, the latest year for which comparable data are available, India was among the large number of Asian and African countries which had a telephone density of less than one for every hundred inhabitants. Obviously, comparisons with the highly advanced countries of North Amercia and Western Europe, which have telephone density of 45 to 50 for every hundred inhabitants, is not proper. However, even by the standard of many developing countries, India is far behind in providing telephones to the population. The telephone density in the country at 0.52 per hundred, is less than that in China (0.78), Iran (3.43), Brazil (5.5), Egypt (5.1), Philippines (1.01), Malaysia (7.37), Pakistan (0.7), Singapore (35.42) or Thailand (1.84).
10.5.3 The above comparison is not intended to underplay the growth of telephone connections which the country has achieved during the last decade. Between 1.1.79 and 1.1.89, the average annual growth rate of direct exchange lines (DELs) in the world was 5 %, in America 3.5%, in Europe 5.7% and in Asia 6.2 percent. In this period, India averaged a growth rate of 8.4% annually, which was higher than Hong Kong, Iran, Israel, Japan and Philippines and only marginally lower than China, Kuwait and Singapore. At the same time, the registered demand has grown much faster at the rate of about 12 percent. Consequently, the waiting list at the end of 1990-91 has more than doubled since the beginning of the Seventh Plan (Figure-1). The telecommunication sector has, perhaps, the highest proportion of unfulfilled demand among all service sectors.
10.5.4 Large population and the huge size of the country have adversly effected the telephone density in India in spite the fact that the telephone network has recorded a considerable growth in the last decade. In 1989, India ranked 19th among the 66 nations in terms of the size of the network. Predictably, countries like the USA, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom and Italy were ahead of India, but other advanced countries like Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand and Belgium had smaller telecommunication networks.
10.5.5 Though the relative share of telecommunication services has increased in the successive Plans (Figure - 2), the share of this investement in the gross domestic product (GDP) has been low by the international standard. Between 1986 and 1988, the investment in telecommunication services was 2.5% of the GDP on an average. At this level, India ranked third from the bottom in a list of forty five countries, while the Republic of Korea headed the list with the corresponding figure of 13.2 percent. However, one positive feature is that the low level of investment was not accompanied by less intensive utilisation of the assets created by the investment. This is borne out by the high traffic density witnessed in the country. In 1988, the total number of local calls was 19,334 million. It was way ahead of the traffic density registered in Australia, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Israel, Saudi Arabia and several other developed and developing countries.
Seventh Plan Review
10.6.1 Originally, the Seventh Plan* outlay for the telecommunication sector was Rs. 4,530 crore, of which, Rs.4,010crore was for the telecommunication services. Later, the outlay for the telecom services was raised on the condition that additional internal resources are mobilised. Consequently, the outlays in the successive Annual Plans on telecommunication services were continually revised upwards and at the end of the Seventh Plan, the approved allocation for the Plan period stood at Rs.7135.42 crore, while the actual expenditure touched Rs.8122.41 crore. Nearly 70% of the additional expenditure was financed by generating more internal resources.
10.6.2 The Seventh Plan of the Department of Telecommunications was principally aimed at reducing the long waiting period for a telephone connection. Therefore, almost 60% of the investment on the telecom services was made on providing additional switching capacity in the local telephone system, though originally only 42% of the total outlay was contemplated to be spent as such. Consequently, 16.98 lakh direct exchange lines (DELs) were provided during the Plan against a target of 16 lakh lines. The waiting list, however, did not come down and actually increased from 8.43 lakhs to 12.87 lakhs. Targets were achieved in most of the other components except in the trunk automatic exchange capacity, telex capacity and optical fibre cables, where substantial shortfalls oc-cured.
10.6.3 In rural communications, about 2,500 exchanges were added with a local switching capacity of 0.84 lakh lines and 0.63 lakh of direct exchange lines. About 9,200 new Long Distance Public Telephones (LDPTs) were installed bringing the total number of LDPTs to 31,000. Around 5,000 new telegraph offices were opened. Thus, by the end of the Seventh Plan, the country had 11,000 rural exchanges and 37,000 telegraph offices.
10.6.4 The principal physical targets and the corresponding achievements during the Seventh Plan are given in Annexure-10.2.
10.6.5 Introduction of new technologies like the digital switching systems, digital microwave, coaxial and optical fibre system in the long distance transmission; multi access rural radio system in the rural network etc., are important accomplishments of the Seventh Plan. Further, digitalisation increased from 3% to 18% in the local switching, from nil to 38% in the long distance switching, from 1 % to 11% in the long distance transmission and from 30% to 39% in the telex. In the area ofnon voice services, a three Node Packet Switched Data Network (PSDN) was introduced on an experimental basis. Modern technology also helped to extend the improved telecommunication services to rural, remote and backward areas. Against the six countries available on the international subscriber dialling network at the beginning of the Seventh Plan, 178 countries were added by the end of the Plan. Of the 447 district headquarters in the country, 380 were put on the subscriber trunk dialling network.
10.6.6 During the Seventh Plan, the major thrust areas of Research and Development in the telecommunication sector were digital radio and line system, advanced switching system, large scale introduction of fibre optic technology, networks management system, development of CAD tools and data modems besides development of transmission equipment for railways and steel plants. The Centre for Development of Telematics, (C-DOT) was set up in August, 1984 to develop a state-of- art digital switching system, suitable for Indian environment and with a capability of introduction in future of an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDM). Based on indigenous technology, the Centre successfully produced 128 port EPABX (Electronic Private Automatic Exchange) and RAX (Rural Automatic Exchange). The production of the same by a large number of licensees has already started. Another major achievement of the Centre was the completion of the design of larger capacity exchanges. The prototype developed have been put on field trial.
Eighth Plan Objectives
10.7.1 The Plan of telecommunication services is framed on the long term objective of a gradual building up of the telephone density to 6/7 telephones for every 100 persons. The waiting period for the telephone connection is now very long not only in the metropolftan cities but also in smaller towns which have shown a sharp increase in demand as soon as new telephone connections are released. Hence, the Plan aims at reducing the waiting period to less than two years in general and also to provide the telephones practically on demand in rural and tribal areas. This will be ensured by installing additional switching capacity of 93 lakh (110 lakh including replacements) lines in order to provide 75 lakh new telephone connections.
10.7.2 In addition to the availability of telephones, accessibility, connectivity and reliability will be the primary goals. Accessibility to telephones will be ensured by providing a telephone in all the Gram Panchayats by April 1, 1995 and having LD-PTs, in additional 1.5 lakh villages by 1st April, 1997 so that 3.6 lakh of the total 5.7 lakh villages in the country are covered by the facility. One Public Call Office (PCO) will be provided for every 100 households in the urban areas. Provision of highway telephones on the national highways wil! also he a part of this programme.
10.7.3 The objective of connectivity will be achieved by providing subscriber trunk dialling facility to all exchanges by April 1, 1997. As part of this programme, all subdivi-sional/tehsi! headquarters or equivalent towns and all exchanges with 500 or more lines will have STD facility. There will be a similar facility for all the industrial growth centres, tourist and pilgrim centres by April 1, 1995. In addition, all the district headquarters will be linked by digital network.
10.7.4 Reliability will he achieved through the provision of media diversity in the transmission network between the trunk automatic exchanges, network management centres for control and management of networks and a dueling programme to lay 3000 km of new ducts.
10.7.5 A beginning will he made in the Eighth Plan to provide a range of value added services (telematics) mainly on the basis of franchise. This will consist of cellular mobile services, voice and electronic mail services, audio and video conferencing services, radio paging and videotex. In the telex and telegraph services, the aim will be to convert the telex network to an all electronic one, to provide access to the telex network from all district headquarters through public telex offices and to make available bureaufax centres at the sub-divi-sional/tehsil headquarters or equivalent towns. In telegraph services, the aim will be to deliver 98% of the booked telegramms within 12 hours and 100% within 24 hours.
10.7.6 The outlay for telecommunications sector in the Eighth Plan is Rs.25,137 crore. The main physical targets are given in Annexure-10.3.
10.7.7 The entire programme outlined above will need substantial increase in the availability of switching and transmission equipment. Under the new economic policy initiated by the Government, fundamental policy changes regarding deregulation of industries including telecom sector have been effected. Manufacture of telecom equipment has been thrown open to the private sector. Despite this, it is expected that there will be a significant gap in the first two years between the requirement and the indigenous production of equipment. In the past, the main supplier of equipment was Indian Telephone Industries. However, in the new industrial policy, the teiecom equipment industry has been delicensed. The interest evinced by several leading foreign manufacturers is most encouraging and it is hoped, will lead to very substantial addition to the indigenous capacity in the private sector.
National Capital Region (NCR)
10.7.8 The development of telecommunication services in the National Capital Region, which consists of 20 priority towns and 5 counter magnet towns in the three States adjoining Delhi, will recieve special emphasis in the Eighth Plan. For this purpose, the DOT has prepared a sub-plan with the aim to make available in the Region a reliable and modernised telecom facility, which will be comparable to that of the Capital itself so that a harmonised and bakffieed growth of the Region takes place. In order 10 achieve this, almost 97 per cent of the switching equipment to be provided for expansion of telecom services in the Region will be of electronic type and only 3 per cent will consist of electro-mechanical equipment. The transmission system would entirely be a digital one consisting of ultra high frequency/microwave and optical fibre systems. A total of 3.67 lakh lines of switching capacity is proposed to be added to NCR telecom network during the period. The outlay proposed for the sub-plan of the NCR is Rs. 995 crore. The likely scenario of the NCR telecom network at the end of the Eighth Plan is presented in Annexure-10.4.
Problems and Strategy
10.8.1 The target of 110 lakh gross additions of direct exchange lines over a five year period is a modest one and is well within the capacity of the Department of Telecommunications to achieve. However, the problem is one of availability of funds and equipment and choice of technology. Clearly, the amount of resources that the DOT would be able to generate internally would not be sufficient to meet the investment required. Since the fiscal deficit has to be brought down significantly during the Eighth Plan, the option of market borrowing is also limited.
10.8.2 As resources of that magnitude do not appear to be in sight within the public sector system, there is a need to draw up a time-bound concrete plan of allowing private enterprise and private sector funding in the basic telecommunication services. Some concrete methods must be devised to obtain resources by way of share capital and convertible or non-convertable bonds from the capita! market. There are several options for this including leasing, joint venture with a minority share for the Government etc. Even foreign direct investment in some of the areas could be encouraged. However, all these fundamentally have to aim at involving the private sector in the expansion of telecom network. Private sector participation should not be viewed as abdication of responsibility by the public sector. On the contrary, it should be seen as healthy sharing of work. Unless innovative methods are devised, the public sector resources alone will not be able to support the programme needed by our vast country in the Eighth Plan. This sector needs sweeping structural and institutional reforms. Without a bold initiative for allowing private enterprise in areas hitherto kept as a preserve of the public sector, it is apprehended that the long term objective of improving telecom services in the country to international standards and to match even the level obtaining in the more progressive developing countries will not be achieved.
10.8.3 It is not enough to provide the telephones alone. It is equally necessary to improve the quality of service. During the Seventh Plan, the quality of service, specially fault rate per 100 stations per month, did not improve significantly despite expansion of the network and upgradation of technology. The average fault rate in the metro and major cities continued to be in the range of 18-20. Even if telecom service is allowed to be provided by the agencies other than the DOT, efficiency of the basic network will have to be maintained by the Department of Telecommunications and in the final analysis, improvement in the level of service will depend on the work culture and the work ethics of that Department.
Public Sector Undertakings
Indian Telephone Industries (ITI)
10.8.4 In the Eighth Plan, ITI envisages a production level of 49.34 lakh lines of electronic switching equipment at its Bangalore complex. The Rai Barelli unit is expected to reach full production of 17.28 lakh lines of electronic switching system and the Mankapur unit 32.70 lakh lines of digital switching equipment. The main Palghat unit will produce 2.82 lakh lines of digital trunk auto exchange equipment, in addition to 1.27 lakh lines of small local exchanges. The old strowger and crossbar exchanges will be phased out of production. New schemes will envisage expansion of digital trunk auto exchange, manufacture of cordless telephones and transmission equipment including the fibre optic systems. An outlay of Rs. 350 crores has been approved for ITI for the Eighth Plan.
Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd.(VSNL)
10.8.5 With the expansion of the International Trunk Dialling Services to most of the countries by the end of the Seventh Plan, VSNL will aim at improving the quality of service and utilisation of the network through improvements in call completion rates. Reliability will be provided by diversifying the international transmission media through addition of digital submarine cables which wiii provide an alternative to satellite transmission. Additional international gateway centres will be established so as to provide uniform network access to various regions of the country. Moreover, new services for improved information transfer will be introduced through facilities like teletex, mail box service, database access, voice mail etc. The VSNL also plans to offer mobile international telecom services to the customers on land, on the high seas and in the air. An outlay ofRs. 800 crores has been provided for the VSNL for the Eighth Plan.
Hindustan Teleprinters Limited (HTL)
10.8.6 With electromechanicfi teleprinters being phased out of the system, the HTL is actively planing to diversify into new product iincs including manufacture of the Roman and bilingual electronic teleprinters. Electronic key hoards, FAX machines, payphones, chip cards, voice cards and C-DOT switching exchanges (upto 1400 lines) are some of the new products which will be manufactured. A provision of Rs. 15 croies has been made for H TL as plan outlay for the Eighth Plan.
Wireless Monitoring Organisation (WMO)
10.8.7 The Eighth Plan proposals of the WMO consist of using continuing programmes viz satellite monitoring earth station project 'i. inonitor emissions from communications satellite in the geostationary orbit and strengthening and moderriising existing facilities. This will include augmentation of High Frequency (HF) channel facilities, provision oi HF direction finding system, extension of microwave mobile monitoring facilities and upgradation of existing satellite monitoring stations to take care of the UHF/VHF and she Ku/Ka hands. For the Eighth Plan, a provision ofRs. 26 crores has been made as the plan outlay for WMO.
S and T Programme
10.8.8 The C-DOT, Telematics Engineering Centre (TEC) and Telematics Research Centre (TRC) are the main Research and Development agencies in the telecom sector besides the in - house facilities of ITI and BEL. The basic goal of Research and Development effort in the Eighth Plan would be to meet the higher technology needs of the entire range of switching and transmission equipment, keeping in view the objectives of extending telecom facilities to all villages, providing STD facilities to all exchanges and making available the latest value added services. The specific areas that will receive priority attention are ISDN capability for C-DOT switches, digital time division technology for rural communication and advanced microwave and fibre optics systems. Besides, systems - related Reseach and Development for improved operations and maintenance will also be carried out involving both hardware and software development. Standardisation, approval and evaluation work will continue to be carried out at the TEC. Greater coordination between the Research and Development activities of ITI and TEC will be achieved during the Eighth Plan. Besides optimally utilising the manpower resources available in the Government and Public Sector research organisations, concerted efforts will be made to harness the immense potential of IITs and other research laboratories in the country.
Information and Broadcasting
10.9.1 Today, the advancements in information technology and the spread in dissemination of information have virtually become an index of a country's development. Moreover, in a democracy, successful development needs participation of the people which is possible only if they are adequately informed. This calls for optimum investment on collection and dissemination of information and for ensuring access to the media of radio and television. At the same time, these media have to cater to the need for entertainment. Both the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I and B) and Publicity and Information Departments of State Governments are involved in these efforts.
Seventh Plan Performance
10.10.1 The major thrust of the Seventh Plan relating to Information and Broadcasting sector was on raising the level of consciousness of the people. It laid emphasis on skillful synthesis of traditional and folk forms of communication on one hand and modem audio visual media including satellite communication on the other. The actual outlays and expenditures of different media organisations at the Centre in the Information and Broadcasting sector are at Annexure-10.5.
Broadcast and Telecast Media (Akashvani and Doordarshan)
10.10.2 The Seventh Plan saw maximisation of the reach of All ndia Radio's (AIR's) signal almost over the entire country, both in terms of population and geographical area. A three - tier system of radio broadcasting - national regional and local levels - was introduced. The National Channel was visualised to be the best method to relieve regional and local stations of the need to relay broadcasts from Delhi and to allow local radio staions opportunity to express themselves. AIR also laid stress on completion of spillover schemes of the Sixth Plan like, 1000 KW mediumwave transmitter for the National Channel at Nagpur and shortwave transmitters for the external services of 250 KW at Aligarh and of 500 Kw at Bangalore. The intention was to maximise the day time coverage and to provide new radio stations in uncovered pockets, utilize FM service for local transmissions and to encourage FM compatibility of small radio sets made in the country, to upgrade medium wave transmitters, to strengthen and consolidate external service transmitters, to replace and to modernise obsolete equipment, to extend radio networking through INSAT and to have uninterrupted broadcast for North Eastern region. By the end of the Seventh Plan the coverage of AIR had increased to about 93% of the population. The number of broadcasting centres (including auxilliary centres) had risen to 134 and the number of transmitters to 226. The major achievements of AIR during the Seventh Plan include the introduction of hourly news bulletins from six in the morning till midnight, introduction of FM broadcast and launching of National Channel.
10.10.3 Likewise, Doordarshan, laid emphasis on introduction of two-tier service in a phased manner which included a television service for the whole country with Delhi as a main production centre and drawing programmes from other regional production centres and each major State having its own primary service originating in the State in the language of the State. By the end of the Seventh Plan, the coverage of Doordarshan had increased to about 53% of the population, the number of its studios had gone up to 31 and the number of transmitters (including transposers) to 535. The coverage will increase to 67% when ail the Seventh Plan schemes and projects initiated in 1990-91 and 1991-92 are completed. The major achievements of Doordarshan include introduction of INTEXT-(teletext) service at Doordarshan Kendra, Delhi, starting of second channel at Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, introduction of a special news bulletin from Delhi for the benefit of persons whose hearing is impaire'.i, introduction of morning and afternoon transmissions and significant increase in transmission time from all the Doordarshan Kendras.
Science and Technology Programme
10.10.4 The major thrust of Science and Technology (S and T) component in the Seventh Plan was on improving transmission quality and modernisation of production facilities. The main areas of work included digital technology, networking of transmission through satellite and antenna development. The Centre tor Digital Techniques in Broadcasting has been established for introduction of digital techniques in radio and TV. Propagation and attenuation studies for both TV and FM (Frequency Modulated) radio signals; improvement of sound insulation and acoustics of studios; development of computer programme for Radio Frequency network planning and antenna development were among the important Research and Development programmes of the Seventh Plan. Very high frequency helical antenna was designed and put on tests on various modes of transmission. Based on indigenous technology, prototypes for amplitude/frequency modulation receivers, radio and TV signal generators, pulse-coded modulation based multiplexers etc. have been developed. This R and D effort will help promote industry-user linkages in high technology areas of communication, transmission, sound retrieval and image intelligence.
10.10.5 The Seventh Plan saw considerable increase in investment on the electronic media. A substantial infrastructure was created in the different information and publicity units. As part of the modernisation process the Press Information Bureau (P1B) introduced du,-semination of news and information through computerised channel and a computer was installed at the Headquarters of the Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI). The Publication Division, which publishes a large number of journals including "Yojana" -a journal on planning and development -added Punjabi and Kannada editions of the journal during the Sevnth Plan. A "Book Bazar on Wheel" was launched by the Division. The Directorate of Field Publicity which targets its publicity effort mainly to the rural areas and has a large network, organised nearly 3.13 lakh film shows, arranged song and drama program mes, held 2.15 lakh photo exhibitions and 3.03 lakh oral communication programmes, thus reaching an estimated audience of over 30 crore during the Seventh Plan period. The advertisement wing of Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity released 84,662 advertisements to various newspapers and journals on behalf of the Union Ministries/Departments during the Seventh Plan period. The Indian Institute of Mass Communication completed construction of its own building at the new campus of Jawahar Lal Nehru University. A Post Graduate Diploma course in Hindi Journalism was introduced arid the Institute acquired personal computers and desk - top publishing facilities.
10.10.6 The principal activities of the films media are to produce and distribute films, to participate in films festivals in India and abroad and to impart training in film and TV production. During the Seventh Plan, the Films Division produced 28 feature films, the Children's Film Society of India produced ten feature films and eight short films and the National Film Development Corporation pro-duced/co- produced 36 films.
10.10.7 India continued to participate in and organise film festivals. The first International Documentary and Short Film Festival was held in Bombay in March, 1990. The International Film Festival of India was held in Calcutta in 1990 and the Sixth International Children's Film Festival was held in Delhi in 1989. The Directorate of Film Festival participated in 117 international film festivals. The Films and TV Institute of India also participated in several film festivals abroad. Several of the Indian films screened in these festivals won awards. In order to encourage production of quality films the National Film Development Corporation financed the production of over 200 films.
10.10.8 So far as State Plans relating to Information and Publicity are concerned, the approved outlay for the Seventh Plan was Rs.93.14 crore, against which the anticipated expenditure was Rs. 115.90 crore. The State-wise position is given in Annexure-10.6.
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