Doordarshan (DD), one of the two divisions of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, celebrated its 64th foundation day on Friday. Established on September 15, 1959, DD is one of India’s largest broadcasting organisations in terms of studio and transmitter infrastructure. It provides television, online and mobile services throughout metropolitan and regional India, as well as overseas.

Background and Transformation

Initially, DD was a part of the All India Radio. On April 1, 1976, it transformed to become a separate department in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and later came under Prasar Bharati.

Education Initiatives during the Pandemic

“India’s public broadcaster helped students with their studies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. In collaboration with various State government institutions, Doordarshan along with All India Radio broadcasted virtual classes and other educational content through their regional channels across the country on TV, Radio, and YouTube,” an official said. “A number of channels of Doordarshan Network transmitting general entertainment and news throughout the day repurposed themselves making it fit for students across the country. In the absence of school classes, these virtual classes helped lakhs of students, especially the 10th and 12th standard students in the preparation for their board and competitive examinations,” he said.

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Current Network and Expansion Plans

Currently, DD has 35 satellite channels, 66 studio centres across the country, a DD DTH earth station at Todapur, Delhi, and 55 transmitters of varying power. Its FreeDish service, which has so far reached about 45 million households, hosts a total of 167 TV channels, including 91 Doordarshan channels (comprising of 51 co-branded educational) and 76 private TV channels. The Centre has recently approved the continuation of the Central Sector Scheme “Broadcasting Infrastructure and Network Development” with an outlay of Rs.2,539.61 crore for 2021-26. This scheme aims to expand the reach of public service broadcasting in remote, tribal, Left-Wing Extremism affected and border zones, aspirational districts, and other such areas of strategic/national importance. The scheme also envisages free distribution of over eight lakh DD FreeDish set-top boxes to people living in remote, tribal, and border areas.

Enhancing Sports Broadcasting

“DD SPORTS has now become DD SPORTS HD, which has enabled the viewers to watch the telecast of major international sporting events in High-Definition transmission,” said the official.