Wednesday, Oct 29, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
The radio programme, implemented through local NGOs in various regional languages, was supported by a grant made available by the Ford Foundation. The CMS, which carried out the rapid assessment study among a small but significant sample in eight of the nine States, found that people listened to the programme to gain knowledge about development activities that the Gram Panchayat in the respective villages can take up.
The findings of the CMS study on this first nationwide attempt at using the people's medium was presented at a "National Meet on Radio Communication for Strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions'' organised by PRIA in the Capital on Tuesday. At the meet, the role of radio in mobilising community for action in promotion of good governance was also discussed.
While 16 per cent reported to have listened to the programme from the first episode, around 16.7 per cent listened to the programme about four times last month. Almost 93 per cent of the respondents listened to the programme from their own residence. The extent of diffusion of the programme was encouraging with about 51 per cent stating that they discussed the contents of the programme with friends, relatives and neighbours. Issues pertaining to village development and roles and responsibilities of the Panchayati Raj were also discussed by them.
As regards the impact of the radio programme in each of the States where the study was done, the findings indicate that people felt inspired to participate in the Gram Sabha activities after listening to the programme. They also learnt about the rights of the Gram Sabha members and the benefits that can accrue from Panchayati Raj. Many felt motivated and said they would like to lead the public as pradhan or panchayat member. Ensuring increased participation in the Gram Sabha and encouraging women's participation could also follow if such programmes are broadcast on a continuous basis.
Suggestions from the field include continuation of the programme and also broadcasts at a convenient time which was not always the case in every State. Drama format should be given priority, the CMS study says, adding that wherever this mode of content production was used, the results were better.
Since the relays took place from small stations of All India Radio, it has been recommended that it must be attempted from main stations for better reach. Recorded cassettes can be sent to Panchayat Sansadhan Kendra and could be made available to the Gram Sabha members whenever they required. A few States wanted increased duration of the radio programme and as was discussed in today's meet, attempts at narrowcasting such programmes in the near future could prove beneficial for the community.
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