Chennai, Feb 13 (PTI) To ensure the growth of the community radio sector, the government on Tuesday increased the advertising time for community radio stations as well as the price rate for advertisements.

It also increased the period for the grant of permission agreement from the existing five years to 10 years, according to the revised policy guidelines for the sector, which was released by Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur at the Regional Community Radio Sammelan (South) here.

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Under the revised policy, the government has permitted any eligible organisation functional in multiple districts to set up a maximum of six community radio stations in different districts.

The advertising time for community radio stations has been increased from seven minutes per hour to 12 minutes per hour, while the rate of advertisement has been hiked from Rs 52 to Rs 74 per 10 second, the guidelines stated.

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The policy also fixed the validity of the letter of intent issued to an organisation to one year, with a buffer of three months to the applicant for any unforeseen circumstances.

The revised policy guidelines are expected to fuel growth of the community radio sector.

The guidelines stated that the licensee will set up an advisory and content committee comprising members of the local community, with 50 per cent representation for women.

India's first community radio station (CRS) was inaugurated on the campus of the Anna University in 2004. Currently, there are 481 CRSs in India. More than 133 CRSs became operational in the last two years.

CRSs are low-power radio stations, which are meant to be set up and operated by local communities.

"Community radio stations offer a platform where content is disseminated in localised dialects and regional languages. Local, context specific issues are raised and discussed in these stations in local idioms," Thakur said.

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