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Akashvani to begin phone-ins on welfare measures


New Delhi, Dec 29 :

In the first such public outreach to propagate government welfare measures and answer questions about them, All India Radio (AIR) will be hosting live phone-in programmes on schemes like the Direct Benefit Transfer, RTI, scholarships, etc involving experts and implementing agencies.

The programme, being launched Jan 4, 2014, would be a half-an-hour weekly show for seven Saturdays, said Director General (News) AIR Archana Dutta.image

“It is for the first time that we are trying something like this. It has never been done before,” Dutta told IANS.

“The live Public Speak programme will have experts on board to answer queries posed by listeners. It will replicate at the regional level the Public Speak programme that is aired on FM Gold at 9.30 p.m. on Mondays,” Dutta added.

The programme is to be made available on 20 of the 44 Regional News Units of AIR.

“We have chosen Saturday as the day and left the timing to the Regional News Units to decide. But afternoon would be preferred as there is maximum listenership at the time – between 3 and 3.30 p.m.,” the official said.

A broad framework of topics has been chosen, like rural/urban employment, mobile telephony, scholarship schemes, welfare of minorities, Aadhar, Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, urban infrastructure including the Metro, the Right to Information, and Panchayati Raj.

The 20 participating regional units include the major state capitals of Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Lucknow as well as Raipur, Bhopal, Srinagar and Shillong.

The programme would be broadcast from the state capital and relayed by other AIR stations in the state.

“The anchor, expert and a representative of the implementing agency would be present in the studio. They would connect with the correspondent who would be the link between them and the beneficiary of a government scheme wanting to ask a question,” Dutta added.

AIR has 500 part-time correspondents or PTCs, who act as intermediaries between the beneficiaries and implementing agencies and the expert in the studio.

The Public Speak at the regional level is like a follow-up to the success stories of government schemes aired by AIR earlier this year.

“Our correspondents connected with beneficiaries of government schemes at the grassroots level, and took their bytes. We aired many two-three minute such capsules in August-September, in Hindi and English and also the regional language,” she said.

Development story capsules are aired on programmes like “Aaj Savere” and “Parikrama” and the Monday morning news.

AIR, from 27 news bulletins in 1939-40, today airs 647 bulletins daily in 90 languages/dialects in its Home, Regional and External Services.