Ahead of next year's elections, with an aim to promote its schemes and highlight its programs, Karnataka government is all set to start a television channel called Gram Swaraj TV.

The channel will be anchored by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department and started through a company called TR Media Entertainment Private Limited.

An investment of Rs 10 crore will go into the basic infrastructure for the channel and a monthly expenditure of Rs 1.5 crore is expected. Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) has approved the financial estimates calling it reasonable.

The idea was first mooted in August 2016 when the department wondered if the satellite communication facility at The Abdul Nazir Sab State Institute of Rural Development (ANSSIRD) can be converted into a TV channel.

ANSSIRD is currently using satellite communication technology to reach out to television sets across 176 taluks.

In November 2016, a committee comprising officials from Doordarshan, Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) and experts from the television sector submitted a report to the government on what needs to be done.

In March 2017, T R Media Entertainment presented a formal proposal to start the TV channel. Apparently, the company has volunteered to procure an uplinking and teleport licence (Rs 20 crore) on its own.

According to RDPR note sheets, RDPR Minister H K Patil pointed out that the government needs a television channel in order to make citizens aware of its schemes, besides highlighting the achievements of his own department. Interestingly Patil has suggested that the proposal be exempted under the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements Act.

The Doordarshan Kendra which is under Prasar Bharathi is a Central Government undertaking and does not facilitate the State Government to utilise it full time for reaching out to the people. Also DD works under the guidelines of Central Government. Hence, this may be the main reason that the State government is mooting to launch its own channel. – Daiji World