IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis



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Context: The Union Government mandated that the national public broadcaster, formerly known as All India Radio (AIR), be referred to just as Akashvani in all broadcasts and shows.


  • The Union Government has issued a new directive to the national broadcaster, which was previously known as All India Radio (AIR), to use only the name Akashvani in all its broadcasts and events.
  • The Government has stated that the name change will help to create a distinct brand image for the broadcaster and to avoid confusion with other radio channels that use similar acronyms.
    • It will also reflect the broadcaster's commitment to providing quality and diverse programming to its listeners across the country and abroad.
    • It will promote the identity and heritage of the public service broadcaster, which has been operating since 1936.

All India Radio (AIR)


  • All India Radio (AIR), also known as Akashvani, is the national public radio broadcaster of India.
  • It is a division of Prasar Bharati, the public service broadcaster of India.
  • It was established in 1936 and has grown to become one of the largest radio networks in the world.
  • It broadcasts in 23 languages and 179 dialects, reaching nearly 92% of the country's area and 99.19% of the total population.
  • The signature tune of AIR, composed by Walter Kaufmann in 1936, is one of the most recognizable melodies in India.
  • The motto of AIR is "Bahujanahitaya Bahujanasukhaya", which means "for the benefit and happiness of all". This reflects the vision and mission of AIR to serve the people of India with dedication and integrity.


  • The origin of AIR can be traced back to 1923 when the Radio Club of Bombay and the Calcutta Radio Club started broadcasting programmes to the public.
  • In 1927, the Indian Broadcasting Company (IBC) was formed to operate two radio stations in Mumbai and Kolkata.
  • IBC went into liquidation in 1930 and the government took over the broadcasting facilities.
  • The Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) was launched in 1930 on an experimental basis and became permanent in 1932.
  • In 1935, Lionel Fielden was appointed as the first Controller of Broadcasting and he introduced many reforms and innovations in radio programming.
  • In 1936, ISBS was renamed All India Radio (AIR).
  • In 1937, AIR came under the Department of Communications and later under the Department of Information and Broadcasting.
  • The name Akashvani, which means 'voice from the sky' in Sanskrit, was first coined by the eminent poet and freedom fighter Rabindranath Tagore in 1938.
    • He used it to introduce a radio broadcast in Kolkata.
    • Since then, the name has been associated with the national broadcaster and its regional stations.

After independence

  • In 1948, AIR started its External Services Division (ESD), which broadcasts in 11 Indian and 16 foreign languages to over 100 countries.
  • In 1956, AIR adopted "Akashvani" as its official name.
  • In 1957, AIR launched its Vividh Bharati Service, which became popular for its film music and entertainment programmes.
  • In 1969, AIR started its Farm and Home Service, which provides information and guidance to farmers and rural listeners.
  • In 1984, AIR launched its Yuvavani Service, which targets the youth and students.
  • In 1993, AIR became a part of Prasar Bharati, an autonomous corporation established by an act of Parliament.
  • In 1998, AIR started its DTH Service, which provides digital quality sound and pictures to viewers across the country.
  • In 2009, AIR launched its Internet Radio Service, which streams live programmes on its website.

AIR's functions

  • Producing and broadcasting programmes on various subjects such as news, current affairs, culture, education, health, sports, science, agriculture etc.
  • Providing a platform for public participation and feedback through phone-in programmes, letters, SMS etc.
  • Serving as a link between the government and the people by disseminating information on policies, schemes and programmes.
  • Supporting disaster management and relief operations by providing timely and accurate information to the affected areas.
  • Preserving and promoting the rich heritage of Indian music and literature through its archives and publications.
  • Collaborating with national and international organisations for the exchange of programmes and expertise.

Significance on AIR

  • Crucial role in informing, educating and entertaining the masses, especially in remote and rural areas where other media are not accessible.
  • Promoting India's rich and diverse cultural heritage, showcasing its music, literature, art, drama and folklore.
  • Medium for fostering national integration and social harmony, by broadcasting programmes that reflect the unity in diversity of India.
  • AIR is still relevant and significant in today's digital age, as it continues to adapt to changing technologies and audience preferences.


  • AIR is a significant institution that has shaped the lives of generations of Indians. It is a trusted and reliable source of news and information that upholds the values of democracy, secularism and pluralism. It is a vibrant and dynamic medium that caters to the diverse needs and interests of its listeners. It is a cultural ambassador that showcases India's glorious past and present to the world.


Q. Radio programme is a form of audio broadcasting that reaches millions of listeners around the world. It can inform, educate, entertain and inspire people through various genres and formats. How does a radio programme adapt to the changing needs and preferences of the audience? How does the radio programme contribute to the social, cultural and political development of the society?