Panel for financial recast of Prasar Bharti formed

New Delhi, Nov 16 | Updated: Nov 18 2005, 03:38am hrs
With an eye on streamlining public broadcaster Prasar Bharti over the next decade, the ministry of information and broadcasting has set up a capital restructuring committee.

The committee will look into issues such as transfer of employees and assets like real estate and infrastructure, among others, from the government to Prasar Bharti.

Speaking to reporters, information and broadcasting secretary SK Arora said, The committee will study options, including should government take equity in the asset transfer, give subsidies or transfer the assets on loan. All these options have tax considerations and implications too.

The committee recently had its first meeting, and it will be some time before a clear picture emerges, senior officials from the I&B ministry said. Amongst other matters, the committees views will be critical in deciding the future course of action of over 50,000 employees of All India Radio and Doordarshan who have been demanding full-fledged government employee status. At present, they are employees of Prasar Bharti, which has no clear rules on recruitment and promotions.

ISSUES BEFORE COMMITTEE
Transfer of employees and assets like real estate and infrastructure
Should government take equity in the asset transfer, give subsidies or transfer the assets on loan
Would 50,000 employees of AIR and DD get full-fledged government employee status
After the committee submits its report, the matter will then be studied by the ministry of finance and the Planning Commission. According to ministry sources, the matter could then be decided by a group of ministers with representations from various concerned ministries.

Once a future course of action on Prasar Bharti is decided, it will be able to raise funds for its expansion projects and will not be dependent on the I&B ministry.

Prasar Bharti was incorporated in 1990 as Broadcasting Corporation of India. Although it is independent in its functioning, the funding is provided by the ministry of information & broadcasting on loan.