Addressing an event to celebrate 75 years of AIR's news transmission in Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati and Marathi languages, Sircar said, "India is one country because of institutions like Akashvani (AIR)."

He said that AIR should not be compared to other channels and criticized as less attractive or less competitive because the "contribution of Akashvani to the cementing of the idea of India" is immense.

Sircar said that India being a multi-linguistic, multi-ethnic and pluralistic country, its strength lies in the flowering of its diversity. Akashvani, with its various regional language programmes and news bulletins, has helped foster the unity in diversity.

Director General (News) AIR, Archana Datta, addressing the event, said the four language units of Telugu, Tamil, Marathi and Gujarati are "part of the living history uninterrupted" of India. The names of some of the news broadcasters and anchors are household names and have contributed immensely to the growth of broadcasting, she said. The radio is the "constant companion" of people, especially during cricket matches when the listenership goes up, she added.

Dutta said that the radio is instant and available at all times. She said there is a need to take a relook at the format, direction and content of bulletins. As part of the year long celebrations to mark the 75th year of news transmission in the four languages, the News Services Division plans to organize various programmes in different languages, including panel discussions. They also plan to bring out a souvenir, she said.

Sircar recalled his years with Yuva Vani, the youth service programme of AIR, when he was young and said his joining as CEO of Prasar Bharti was like "coming back to my family". He requested the Akashvani news broadcasters to collect anecdotes and important happenings of the past years relating to their work which they would collate.

He said that "in this age of cacophony" it is important to let the people know the contribution of Akashvani to the country. Fourteen veteran newscasters in Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, and Marathi language units were felicitated on the occasion. From a modest 27 news bulletins in 1939-40, All India Radio today puts out over 650 bulletins daily in about 90 languages/dialects.

On October 1, 1939 the four language units started transmitting news.


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