In a unique initiative, the information & broadcasting ministry held a live conference on Twitter on Friday to generate awareness and answer queries related to community radio, a segment that it wants to pro-actively support.
The queries ranged from ones related to practical aspects to those which in the realm of ideas for the medium.
"Why not have gramsabha meeting on Commradio?" a twitterati who goes by the name Rajshri wanted to know from the ministry officials.
"Yes. In consultation with the concerned Gram Panchayat. A Very Good idea," the ministry retweeted.
"Can v start CR for coaching students in Kota where where subjects related program can be broadcast in interesting and interactive way?" was another question.
"As long as it is a community demand & is not used for commercial ends," was the reply.
Another tweet wanted to know ways in which community radio can earn money to keep itself running/working?
"By advertising & raising support from local communities. DAVP pays Rs.4/sec for advertising on #ComRadio s. pvt. advt too allowd," the ministry tweet answered.
Before the interaction on Twitter, the ministry said that Uday Kumar Varma, secretary, and all its joint secretaries will take netizens' questions.
In a statement released later, the I&B ministry said the live conference, scheduled for half-an-hour, went on for over an hour and more than 200 questions were received on different aspects of the community radio programme.
Varma responded to nearly 45 such questions. He said the ministry would continue to do such exercises on other issues in the near future.
The conference provided the ministry the medium to understand the perception of the people in the social media space. As the intervention was innovative, it also provided a platform to make the citizens aware of the key policies and programmes of the government, he said.
The I&B ministry is also organising the 3rd National Community Radio Sammelan Bhawan in New Delhi from February 9-11.
The ministry has taken several initiatives to streamline the approval process for setting up community radio stations. It has empanelled 35 community radios with the Department of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) to provide them with government advertisements.
The ministry also plans to introduce a scheme for providing financial assistance to community radio stations in the 12th Plan. Once approved, the scheme would help to set up 100 new community radio stations every year. Thus 500 or more new community radios would come up in the 12th Plan period, the ministry said in a statement.