I&B wants license fee
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry wants the government to pay Prasar Bharati license fee it has not charged from TV and radio set owners for many years now, reports Chetan Chauhan
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry wants the government to pay Prasar Bharati license fee it has not charged from television and radio set owners for many years now. A Group of Ministers, headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, will consider on Wednesday an I&B ministry recommendation to this effect.
Officials said Section 17 of the Prasar Bharati Act mentions the license fee, which was never charged. The ministry now wants a block payment from the government to make up for this loss.
This will help the corporation become financially self-reliant, just as the Memorandum of Understanding between Prasar Bharati and the ministry expected, the officials said.
The GoM will also consider proposals to absorb 36,000 Prasar Bharati employees. The personnel will get facilities similar to those for government servants. The GoM has been told the package will cost Prasar Bharati Rs 81 crore.
The GoM will also consider absorbing the officials on deputation in their current posts.
However, Finance Ministry believes the employees may not want to join Prasar Bharati permanently owing to its dependence on the government for grants.
The Consumer Electronic and Appliances Manufacturers Association has reacted with "shock" to the GoM proposal to levy fee on the production of television and radio sets.
A statement that the association released argued: "The total tax levied on radio sets and television is about 35 per cent. Higher tax is an incentive to grey market. A new tax will increase the grey market share to 45 per cent."