will continue to get govt. fund
Making a U-turn from its earlier resolve, the government
has again made a case for continued financial support to Prasar Bharati, the
public broadcaster, in order to make it financially viable. Six months ago,
a group of ministers (GoM) on Prasar Bharati had recommended a 50% cut in
the non-plan outlay component given to Prasar Bharati from the budgetary
allocations of the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry. However, the
GoM decision never got a formal Cabinet approval.
Now, sources said, the
government has given several assurances to the agitating employees of Prasar
Bharati including retaining both assets and employees of Prasar Bharati
under its umbrella, comprehensive amendments of the Prasar Bharati Act, and
continued financial support among others. It is after these assurances that
the 38,000 employees of Doordarshan and All India Radio decided to
indefinitely defer their call for 72-hours strike from Monday. Of course,
all such assurance will require the nod of the GoM and Cabinet.
“Prasar Bharati can not
become financially viable if it earns four rupees and spends six rupees.
After continued efforts, now the government has seen our financial and
understands that without support Prasar Bharati is not viable,” a senior
official in Doordarshan said.
In the hectic discussions between the
I&B ministry officials and the representatives of the employees union last
week, the National Federation of AIR and Doordarshan Employees (NFADE) gave
it in writing that the employees will not go on mass causal leave for
72-hours and beyond starting from Monday.
In return, the government
has agreed for an active involvement of NFADE in any recommendations that
goes before the GoM on Prasar Bharati. Also, NFDAE and top officials in
Prasar Bharati will form a committee that will suggest a roadmap for the
comprehensive amendments to be included in the Prasar Bharati Act. The
government is also said to have assured the AIR and Doordarshan employees
that their salaries will be paid on time.
According to sources, the I&B
ministry officials told the NFADE representatives that while the assets of
Prasar Bharati like buildings, lands, equipments of AIR and DD stand
transferred to Prasar Bharati as per the act, technically, there has not
been any such transfers. Also, Prasar Bharati can not sell, mortgage or
dispose off these assets without prior approval of the government. Also, all
employees of Prasar Bharati who joined before October 2007 will continue to
be treated as government employees on “deemed deputation”.
The government assurances came
after sustained efforts from the 38,000 employees of Prasar Bharati who went
on two-day mass casual leave in November which virtually brought the
functioning of AIR and Doordarshan to halt. Again, from Monday, the
employees had given the notice to go on an indefinite strike if their
various demands were not met including repealing of the Prasar Bharati Act.
Recently, the I&B minister Ambika Soni had
said that repeal of the Prasar Bharati Act was “out of question”. “Prasar
Bharati is an autonomous body made under an act of Parliament. The
government cannot simply end its autonomy and turn in back into a
government-controlled body,” Soni said on Friday.
“A committee is already constituted
within Prasar Bharati to make active suggestion to the I&B ministry for
comprehensive amendments required in the Prasar Bharati Act. Apart from
member personal, the committee will have five members of NFADE, DG
Doordarshan, DG AIR and any other officials,” Kulbhushan Bhatia, secretary
general, NFADE told FE.
FRIENDS OF PRASAR BHARATI demand
Complete funding to
Prasar Bharati .We request
for ammemdmemds in Prasar Bharati Act to ensure Direct and
Complete funding to
Prasar Bharati . With out this, at any time government
can change its decisions and cut the funding to Prasar Bharati.
"Prasar Bharati can not sell, mortgage or dispose off these assets
(assets of AIR & DD) without prior approval of the government".
This is the statement by the Ministry officials. This means, if the
government approves ,(not Parliament) Prasar Bharati can sell,
mortgage or dispose off these assets. Direct and
Complete funding to Prasar Bharati can avoid all these possibilities.
Thank you for your