Page last updated at 22:34 GMT, Monday, 14 March 2011

Adjournment debate

MPs have urged the BBC to reverse its decision to axe short-wave radio broadcasts in Hindi which reach millions of people in rural India.

In an adjournment debate on 14 March 2011, former Conservative minister Edward Leigh said: "The BBC is cutting its short-wave Hindi service which costs £1m a year. Once it is cut, they will save just 2.5 pence per listener."

"This, I would contend, is the wrong saving to make and I very much hope the BBC will think again."

His comments were supported by a series of Conservative and Labour MPs.

In January the BBC announced the closure of its three-hours-a-day news and current affairs radio output in Hindi, after the government said it would cut funding for the World Service by 16% over four years.

The service will now temporarily remain - albeit reduced to a one-hour evening broadcast - as the BBC explores proposals for alternative funding.

Foreign Office Minister David Lidington said the popularity of BBC Hindi was manifest in the "passionate" representations that ministers had received.

"I'm pleased that the BBC World Service has been able to find some extra funding from within their budget to support the short wave Hindi service for another year and give them time to prove whether any alternative funding proposals will be viable," he said.

The BBC World Service was "one of many important elements" of Britain's ties with India, he added.


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