Importance of communication as a basic infrastructure for economic development has been very well understood in India.
The speed with which the messages are transmitted and received have completely revolutionized the economic, political and defence scenario of the country.
Speedy communication has affected every aspect of human life. There were times, when messages used to be sent through pigeons (a piece of paper with a written message tied around its neck), though on a very limited scale.
Then there were times, when horsemen known as halkaras used to run with messages. These are historical events of the past. In defcnce services motor cycle riders known as DRs, still carry messages concerning other Army units. The postal service was introduced in India in 1837 by the Britishers.
From a very modest beginning of postal and telegraph services in the country, communication system has expanded at a very phenomenal rate due to advancement of science and technology.
Use of satellites and information technology have brought revolution in communication system and has a big role in shrinking the world and making it a global village.
Communication system is of two types:
(i) Print Media.
News papers, magazines, Periodicals etc.
(ii) Electronic Media.
Radio, Transistors, TV Satellite, Telegraph, Telephone, Telecommunication and Information Technology.
The development of these two media have facilitated development of industry, agriculture, business, education, extension and medical services, art culture and music.
The role of electronic media is of vital importance in the present times both for civil and defence purposes.
Development of communication system in the country has played a signal role in changing the land scape of the country and influencing every walk of human life. The mode of communication is enlisted as under:
(i) Postal Services.
This service was introduced in 1837 in India from 700 post offices in 1854; presently there are over 153000 post offices in the country. One post office serves nearly 5500 persons and over 21 square km of area.
This service plays a significant role in communication system in the country. The system serves even the remotest corners of the country.
(ii) Telegraph and Telephone Services.
Telegraph service was started in 1851 in India. It was introduced at Kolkata first of all. Presently there are over 40,000 telegraph offices and 25000 telephone exchanges in India. The Country possesses the largest Telecom network in Asia.
There are over 20 m working phones in the country. STD and ISD services have assumed a great importance in the present times. Radio paging, mobile phones and celluIar phones have become quite popular and are commonly in possession of a middle class man.
Telex system helps sending information in printed form instantly is also an important Telecom medium, being used commonly by business houses like banks, companies, financial institutions, medical services etc. Electronic or E- mail is also gaining popularity in the country as a Telecom media.
(iii) Radio, Television and Cinema.
Radio is very powerful wireless communication medium for transmitting or broadcasting and receiving information like news, advertisement, drama, music etc.
In 1947, there were 6 All India Radio Stations in the country, whose numerical strength has touched to 200 figures. Akashwani is accessible in 90% area of India. And nearly 97% of India’s population has the opportunity of listening to AIR.
Television service was introduced in 1959 in India. There are nearly 900 transmissions. Television is accessible to nearly 90% of population of the country through natural Satellite.
Under the open sky, a number of private channels are televising their programmes. Prasar Bharti, an autonomous body, looks after the working of radio and) television services in the country.
(iv) Cinema is another major mode of entertainment in India. Films are made in nearly all the regional languages. However, Hindi films are very popular.
Personal computers and internet services have brought revolution in this age of information Technology.
The increasing influence of radio, transistors, television and cinema tends more and more of unifying people and westernizing the communist countries. Media have done yeoman’s service in increasing literacy and awareness.
(iv) Print Media.
There were 41,000 newspapers and periodicals being published in the country in 100 languages. The Hindi publications lead, with 40% of total publications.
Similarly books are equally an important means of communication for propagating knowledge, information, thoughts etc.