milestones in television in India
Jhabua Communication Project
Jhabua is a remote hilly hinterlands region in Madhya Pradesh. The Jhabua district is noted for its large extension of tribal folks. Approximately 85% of population belongs to tribal communities. Majority of them remain illiterate. The literacy rate is 15%. The district is blessed with abundance of natural resources. But poverty is the face value of these peoples. They are the poorest ones of the state. Infant mortality rate is high. Transportation and communication facilities are very limited. Agriculture is the main source of revenue.
To cater the development needs of the under developed sections of Jhabua region, a television experiment is introduced. The Development and Education Communication Unit (DECU) of Space Application Center (CAS), Ahmedabad launched Jhabua Development communications Project (JDCP) in the mid-1990s. Educational and entertainment values are merged in programmes. The edutainment programmes concentrated on live issues like agriculture, natural forestry, health, education, watershed management and local governance. The project assured active participation of local people of Jhabua villages.
Jhabua Development communications Project is an evening television exposure. Every evening they got two hours programmes. This primetime edutainment venture trained village functionaries like teachers, angawady workers, panchayath members, hand pump operators etc. Interactive mode is used. Talkback terminals were utilized for training programmes. Twelve talkback terminals are installed in the block headquarters. The functionaries interacted with the Ahmedabad station officials and resource persons, asked question, provided feedbacks and reported on the progress of the project.
Technically Jahbua Development communications Project utilized interactive satellite-based broadcast network. The project is supported by 150 direct reception instruments like dish, television sets, VCRs and other equipment. DECU uplinked programmes to the satellite from Ahmedabad and received at the Jhabua villages.
Under the guidelines of DECU, the state government, Jhabua district administration, local panchayath governance and the Non-Government Organisations joined hands to implement the project. The project is a new milestone in the history of India’s development communication.