Public broadcaster Doordarshan is taking recourse to legal action to recover more than Rs934 crore owed to it by various private companies and government departments.
The steps taken by Prasar Bharati were outlined by Union minister of state for information and broadcasting CM Jatua in reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.
The steps include issuing reminders to defaulting agencies, whose bank guarantees and accreditation status have been frozen, serving legal notices on many such entities even as arbitration and court proceedings are on in many cases, Jatua said. Prasar Bharati, an autonomous body, controls Doordarshan.
While 84 defaulting agencies, whose cases were under arbitration, owe Doordarshan a sizeable Rs775 crore, dues against advertising agencies in Doordarshan records were Rs70.9 crore. Old or dead agencies owed Doordarshan Rs48.11 crore while government agencies owed it Rs40.28 crore as dues.
The minister informed the house that a committee chaired by Amit Mitra, former secretary-general of the Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry, had submitted a report suggesting recommendations to overcome deficiencies in the existing generation of TRPs.
The recommendations include self-regulation of TRPs through a 12-member Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), an industry-led body, rise in sample size from 8000 people metre homes to 30,000, transparency in the selection of rating agency, ensuring no cross-holding exists among rating agencies, broadcasters, advertisers and ad agencies so as to avoid conflict of interest, etc.
“The BARC has been incorporated as a company under Companies Act, 1956, and it has commenced the preparatory activity for TRP generation and may start publishing rating reports by July 2013,” the minister said.