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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Prasar Bharati board to discuss rightsizing policy at meeting today

The last board meeting in February was mired in controversy after the public broadcaster turned down a resolution moved by the MIB to appoint a serving IAS officer to its board, and deferred its proposal to bring in professionals to head the news service units of Doordarshan and All India Radio.

india Updated: May 14, 2018 07:50 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A manpower audit of the PB, as suggested by various committees, including the Sam Pitroda committee, has also been initiated to identify overstaffed sections.
A manpower audit of the PB, as suggested by various committees, including the Sam Pitroda committee, has also been initiated to identify overstaffed sections.(Twitter)
         

The board of Prasar Bharati (PB) will meet on Monday to take a call on issues such as a policy for rightsizing the public broadcaster as well as formulating a strategy for allowing sale of vacant slots on DD Free Dish, according to officials familiar with the developments.

The officials said the board will examine the suggestions from the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) to let go off its contractual employees to streamline staffing.

A manpower audit of the PB, as suggested by various committees, including the Sam Pitroda committee, has also been initiated to identify overstaffed sections.

The last board meeting in February was mired in controversy after the public broadcaster turned down a resolution moved by the MIB to appoint a serving IAS officer to its board, and deferred its proposal to bring in professionals to head the news service units of Doordarshan and All India Radio.

Both Prasar Bharati chairperson A Surya Prakash and CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempanti did not respond to queries on phone seeking comments.

“The board will examine the memorandum of understanding that has to be signed between the MIB and PB for the current financial year. According to the provision of general financial rules, as an autonomous organisation receiving grant-in-aid, PB has to sign an MoU with the ministry, bringing out the physical and financial targets with timelines for activities to be done by utilising the said grant during that financial year,” said one of the officials, on the condition of anonymity.

In January and February, PB had to pay salaries to its employees from its contingency fund since the MoU had not been signed and MIB did not release funds.

The issue had escalated into a point of contention between the MIB and the broadcaster.

Another official, also requesting anonymity, said the board will examine issues related to budgetary provisions, signing of a memorandum of understanding with BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council of India) over sharing of viewership data related to various Doordarshan channels and take stock of the various cases pending in courts.

“The policy of slot on DD Free Dish is also expected to come up. Broadcasters have been pushing for an objective and transparent policy for allotment of vacant slots on DD Free Dish,” the second official said.

Earlier, vacant slots on DD Free Dish were allotted to private broadcasters through e-auctions, but the practice was put on hold in 2017 by the MIB, as it felt that the policy helped private broadcasters earn more money and did not benefit PB.

First Published: May 14, 2018 07:47 IST

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