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News |  11 Oct 2011 10:47 |  By RnMTeam

Ordinance soon for changes in Prasar Bharati Act

NEW DELHI: An ordinance is expected to be promulgated shortly to make changes in the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act 1990 following the recommendations of a Group of Ministers which examined various issues relating to the pubcaster.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has done a comprehensive review of the provisions of the Prasar Bharati Act and has recommended certain amendments to the Act, which have been approved by the Law Ministry.

Asked why these amendments could not wait for the winter session of Parliament, Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources told that the posts of Chief Executive Officer as well as Member (Personnel) were becoming vacant in December and October respectively, and the Government wanted to take new incumbents under new rules.

The GoM also considered the various recommendations of the High Level Committee on the Commonwealth Games headed by V K Shunglu with regard to the pubcaster.

Acting against the then CEO B S Lalli had proved to be a long process with the Ministry approaching the President through the Prime Minister and the apex court appointing a Judge to probe the charges. The amendments also aim at simplifying this process and by instituting a three member panel comprising the Vice -President, Chairman of the Press Council of India and a nominee of the government, currently responsible for appointments of top officials – to take action in such cases.

Inefficiency, indiscipline and misbehaviour are also sought to be added as grounds for removal of a CEO, or the DGs of All India Radio and Doordarshan, apart from the permanent members of the Prasar Bharati Board.

The GoM in particular made recommendations regarding the relationship between the Government and Prasar Bharati and the CEO and the Prasar Bharati Board.

Not merely that, but the GoM had also recommended addition of two more permanent members: Member (Technical) and Member (Marketing).

Earlier this year, the GoM also studied the recommendations of a Committee of four joint secretaries on disparity in pay scales of Prasar Bharati employees and also made some recommendations with regard to the waiver of some dues from Prasar Bharati. The Committees for studying the amendments to the Act and the pay scale anomalies had been formed by the GoM headed by P Chidambaram in June last year.

The GoM had also given its recommendations on the Prasar Bharati Board's proposal that the Government should meet 100 per cent of the expenses on salaries and allowances of the employees and 50 per cent of operating expenses of Prasar Bharati, while the pubcaster will meet the balance 50 per cent of the operating expenses.The existing provision requires Prasar Bharati to generate at least 50 per cent of its operating expenses as commercial revenue.

The long-pending Recruitment Rules for 196 cadres of employees in Prasar Bharati were considered for forwarding to Government. Non-existence of these Rules ever since Prasar Bharati came into being in 1997 was a major reason for the huge backlog in filling up the vacancies and making vital appointments, something which has come under heavy criticism in Parliamentary Committees.