Exempt community radio stations from the new enhanced Spectrum Fees.
To, Sri Kapil Sibal Hon’ble Minister Communication & Information Technology Sanchar Bhavan 20, Ashoka Road New Delhi - 110001 Sub: Hike in Spectrum Fees Ref: Ministry’s order No. P-11014/34/2009-PP(I) dated 22nd March, 2012 Sir, This is with reference to the Ministry’s order No. P-11014/34/2009-PP(I) dated 22nd March, 2012 regarding Royalty charges for Assignment of Frequencies to “captive users’, involving Single Channel Operations for terrestrial Broadcasting. The Community Radio Association expresses its strong resentment at the decision of the Ministry which sought to increase the Spectrum fees for the Community Radio license holders of the Country along with other commercial operators. The Ministry’s decision will badly affect the new applicants as well as the present license holders of the small FM community radio stations run by communities and broadcasting within a radius of 5-15 Km. with a 50 watt transmitter. Most of the Community radio stations of the Country are currently facing a severe problem of sustenance and finding it difficult to even meet their recurring expenditure. Increasing the spectrum fees from present Rs. 19,700/- to Rs. 91,000/- will not only become a burden on the community but also dissuade the new applicants for establishment of Community radio stations. This will greatly affect the growing community radio movement of the Country and goes against the spirit of the landmark Judgement by the Supreme Court in 1995 ‘Airwaves are a public property and they have to be used for the benefit of the society at large ’ As you are aware that Government of India has been advocating a strong policy for encouraging more and more Community radio stations in rural and backward regions of the country in an attempt to empower the rural and marginalised people. The present 130 plus community radio stations in the Country have been working towards these goals and succeeded in empowering a section of the population by addressing various relevant issues. However, it is regrettable that Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has adopted a retrograde policy by equating the non profit Community Radio stations with other commercial stations. In view of the above, the Community Radio Association (CRA) appeals to you to reconsider the decision of the Ministry and exempt the community radio stations from the new enhanced Spectrum fees. With warm regards Community Radio Broadcasters & Radio Lovers of India