Prasar Bharati running short on cash

Prasar Bharati Corporation, the autonomous body modelled on the UK pubcaster BBC and overseeing the work of Doordarshan (DD) and the All India Radio (AIR), is facing a cash crunch and will move the government to release the funds allotted to it. 

Admitting this fact, a senior Prasar Bharati Corporation official told, "There is a cash flow problem and we are taking up this issue with the government." 

According to the Corporation official, who is also part of the governing body, Prasar Bharati has mooted a proposal that it will sign a memorandum of understanding with the government to get released the grant-in-aid to it in two tranches. "This will ease the financial problems which the Corporation has been facing for quite some time now 

Though the official denied any knowledge of non-payment of dues for work which had been sourced from outside, Prasar Bharati insiders did reveal to that the funds crunch has resulted in arrears piling up. 

For example, the insiders said that casual reporters working for DD have not been paid their remuneration or get the payments late. Casual reporters are paid at the rate of Rs 750 per day and cannot be employed for more than ten days in a month.

Similarly, it is also said that DD had contracted an outside agency to act as its research division and undertake research work for various reports, analysis and news features for which payment is pending. 

However, several efforts made by indiantelevision to elicit a response from the persons concerned who undertake research activities for DD proved futile.

But there is no denying the question that Prasar Bharati, partially on an expansion mode under chief executive KS Sarma, who is now slightly over three months old in the Corporation, is facing a cash flow problems. 

Armed with a Rs 1000-million kitty for sourcing fresh programming, the Corporation will also soon start commissioning and buying programmes outright. "If we find, for example, a serial good then the Corporation will buy out the rights for it outright," the official said. 

The issue relating to finances and other matters will be discussed by the Prasar Bharati Corporation board meeting slated to be held on 3 July.

There is also a proposal to re-launch DD News, closed down earlier this year on 26 January after over 18 months of existence. But whether this will find favour with the board members and also the government, which still retains control over the Corporation indirectly, is still to be seen.  

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