With the Union Cabinet approving the ‘Guidelines for Uplinking and Downlinking of Television Channels in India, 2022’, earlier this month, it may become binding for Indian television channels to air “national interest” content for 30 minutes every day from January 1, 2023.
The guidelines became effective across the country on November 9. Officials from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) have said that the channels will be given time to conceptualise and create such content. There will be another round of meetings between the ministry officials and the stakeholders to give a final shape to the plan.
As per the guidelines, at least 30 minutes are to be given every day to telecast content pertaining to “public service and national interest”, for which eight themes were given to channels for creation of content. The rationale behind the move, as per the government, is that airwaves are public property and need to be used in the best interest of society.
The themes given to the channels include (i) education and spread of literacy; (ii) agriculture and rural development; (iii) health and family welfare; (iv) science and technology; (v) welfare of women; (vi) welfare of the weaker sections of the society; (vii) protection of environment and of cultural heritage; and (7 (viii) national integration.