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How to get a CR licence

Aug 14, 2008

A useful aid for organisations who intend to apply for a CR licence, or have already submitted their application to the I&B, Applying for SACFA clearance and allotment of frequency for a Community Radio Station: A step by step guide is a new publication that offers clarity to the complex application process in India.

"Many people have applied only to be told that the site they have asked for cannot be permitted for various technical reasons that only become clear once you complete the application. That kind of Catch 22 can be very frustrating to applicants who have already spent over six months in the application process,” says the author N Ramakrishnan.

Applying for permission to set up a CRS can befuddle the most well-prepared of applicants.

It would be therefore useful to understand beforehand the process of application and clearances, in order to do this well and with a minimum of effort. This is where Applying for SACFA clearance and allotment of frequency for a Community Radio Station (CRS): A step by step guide proves to be a useful aid.

This publication, authored by N Ramakrishnan, director of projects at Ideosync Media Combine, hand-holds applicants through the application process along with providing other useful information. The document has been prepared with key inputs from a number of individuals and organisations working in the field of community and campus radio.

Why this guide?

First, the basic application has to be sent to the CRS Cell at the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and it must receive the clearance and security check by various ministries such as civil aviation, defence, home affairs and communication. Following this, the MoIB issues the applicant a Letter of Intent, which permits the applicant to proceed with the application process.

Once this has been received, one has to apply to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT). Specifically one has to approach the Dept of Telecommunication’s (DoT) Standing Advisory Committee on Frequency Application (SACFA) and the Wireless Planning & Coordination (WPC) wing to get a siting clearance and the allocation of a frequency for your CRS.

This process is convoluted because (a) the application has to be made online on the WPC website (, which is not easy to navigate, followed by the submission of a hard copy version; (b) there are some technical portions to the application that are totally out of the realm of common knowledge; and (c) there are no clear expectations forthcoming from WPC regarding how the form needs to be filled in.

Applying to the SACFA and WPC for siting clearance essentially means that you are applying for permission to set up a radio transmitter in a particular location, broadcasting on a specific frequency.

'Radio spectrum', or the range of electromagnetic waves within which radio waves are used for broadcast, is limited. So the distribution or allocation of the available frequencies is usually managed by a central (usually government) authority, so that frequency overlaps do not take place.

Siting permission, therefore, takes into consideration the existing use of the radio spectrum in the proposed location, in the interests of fair distribution - and so that the transmitter that you set up does not interfere with that of any defence, air traffic, police or emergency service radio transmission.

Contents of the guide

The guide contains detailed information on 

  • Pre-application information that one must collect
  • A step by step, page by page walkthrough of the application process
  • Details on the submission of the hard copy application, including enclosures and details of the maps and other required supporting documents.

The SACFA application guide is accompanied by a template frequency application form that needs to be completed as well and submitted in hard copy.

Who can use it?

The guide is intended to help non-technical people successfully complete the SACFA and frequency applications.

More realistically, it should be read by organisations who intend to apply for a CR licence, or have already submitted their application to I&B and are proceeding to the SACFA and frequency allocation step.

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