All India radio (AIR) Urdu service, which has been on a gradual decline over the years, has completely stopped producing new shows since April 2023. Consequently, the Urdu programmes have been suspended and replaced with irregular Hindi programmes.
With 24-hour service, before Covid, the duration of transmission has now been halved. It now broadcasts programmes for only nine-and-a-half hours, which have been divided into three different slots. However, the slots are mostly left without any programmes.
Moreover, the AIR Urdu service had a budget of Rs 6 crores for the financial year 2023-24, all of which remains unspent. It seems that the budget might lacerate the next year after the authorities discover there was no money spent on the Urdu service in 2023.
According to the experts, there is a possibility that AIR Urdu service may be encumbered completely because the staff has not even recorded even a single show since April 2023.
Shows are now replaced
Hindi radio programe called Market Mantra has replaced Nayee Nasl, Nayee Roshni (youth-related program), Bazm-e-Khawaateen (for women), Hifzaan Sehat (health-related programme), Filmi Duniya (cinema-related programme), Science Naama (science-related programme), and Khel Khilaadi (a sports programme).
Another Hindi radio program Parikrama has replaced Hello Doctor (health related program) and Gulhaae Rang, Rang (folk music show). Other programmes like Aaina (literary magazine show), Mushaira, Andaaz-e-Nazar (about current affairs) have also been replaced by other non-Urdu programmes.
A share market and business-related programme, Market Mantra, is broadcasted through the news service division in the evening. However, the same is repeated through Urdu service in the morning the next day when the trading of the new day has already begun. The Urdu service provides the news of the closing market of the previous day.
Another programme, Parikrama, about the importance of festivals and events, is also being broadcasted a day later.
According to a report by Patriot, an official associated with AIR said: “There have been instances when we have had to transmit the news and significance of festivals a day after it was observed. For example, the National Unity Day is observed on October 31 and its significance was explained in Parikrama on the same day. However, the Parikrama programme was repeated through Urdu service on November 1. Same thing happened with events like Karva Chauth where the programme explained its significance to women. However, it was repeated through Urdu service a day after the festival was over.”