A community radio, the first ever by an NGO, the Society for Development Alternatives, became operationalised on October 23, 2008 at Taragram, Orchha in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, consequent to grant of permission to the Society by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 34 such NGOs have so far got Ministry’s permission to establish, maintain and operate Community Radio in different parts of the country.
The Government of India has since liberalized the Policy on Community Radio to bring in the civil society and voluntary organizations working not for profit also under its ambit. Only educational institutions were earlier permitted to set a community radio. The policy has been liberalized by the government with a view to allow greater participation by the civil society on issues of development and social change.
The Community Radio initiative aims to empower the women, youth and marginalized groups to take part in local self-governance and overall socio-economic and cultural development of the area.
The Society for Development Alternatives which took a lead in establishing a community radio in NGO sector is among other things, engaged in natural resource management in the region through a range of activities involving conversion of wasteland to productive land, water conservation and promotion of appropriate farming practices and livestock management. Besides, the society is developing partnerships and alliances with banks, research institutes, government departments, panchayats and civil society organizations to ensure convergence of developmental goals in Bundelkhand.