India's public broadcaster, Prasar Bharati, has on its rolls an army of "consultants" who are paid handsomely, but many have rather vague job profiles, a Parliament question has revealed.
For example, one consultant's job is to conduct official "lunch and dinner", apart from overseeing security matters. His draws a salary of Rs 63,330 a month.
Another consultant with DD Urdu draws a salary of Rs 1 lakh a month to run a panel that collects suggestion from "highly-reputed individuals" on programme quality. He also views "rough cuts" of prospective programmes.
Over 200 such consultants are currently working in various capacities in Prasar Bharati, Doordarshan and All India Radio, information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said in his reply to Lok Sabha.
A slew of consultants have also been hired to advise on "look and feel" of channels run by Doordarshan. A former Indian Foreign Service officer has been hired to advise on "matters relating to international relations".
Legacy issues, including a financial crunch, have been an area of concern for Prasar Bharati. Last year, the government agreed to write off Rs 1,300 crore of Prasar Bharati’s approved debt. There have been high rates of retirements but a near-freeze on fresh recruits since a recruitment board has been stuck for years.