After the Indian Parliament reconvened for the Winter session on
18 November, the minister informed Parliament that the running cost
of Prasar Bharati, which oversees the functioning of DD and AIR,
during 2001-2002 was Rs 10508.3 million, while the revenue earned
was pegged at Rs 7118.8 million.
In recent times, the Planning Commission, which plans government
expenditure on a five-year basis, in a report has indicated that
Prasar Bharati should seriously look at tapping various other ways
of generating additional revenue. Reason: the annual grants -in-
aid which it gets from the government is likely to be reduced next
financial year beginning 1 April 2003.
Meanwhile, Swaraj also told Members of Parliament that Prasar Bharati
has initiated a number of steps, within the mandate of public service
broadcasting, to give a fillip to its revenue generation.
According to Swaraj, the strategy , inter alia, adopted by Prasar
Bharati, which is an autonomous body but still functions as a quasi-governmental
organisation, in this regard are as follows:
-to optimally utilise its infrastructure facilities;
-to improve its marketing mechanism;
-to make sustained efforts to obtain funds from various government
departments for making in-house programmes.
In the same vein, she also informed Parliament that 71 companies
owed DD Rs 1648.2 million as of 31 October, 2002. In case of AIR,
the outstanding dues amounted to Rs 66.9 million.
Some critics of Prasar Bharati have pointed out that if the pubcaster
made serious effort to recover the outstanding dues from the defaulting
organisations, some of which are still doing business with DD and
AIR, Prasar Bharati's annual revenue would go up substantially.
Giving a break-up of the revenue earned, Swaraj told fellow MPs
that during 1999-2000, DD's revenues stood at Rs 5971.9 million,
while those of AIR were Rs 808.4 million. During 2000-2001, DD's
revenue was pegged at Rs 6375.1 million (an improvement from the
previous year), while AIR's dipped to Rs 739 million. During 2001-2002,
DD earned Rs 6152 million ( indicating a dip in earnings), while
AIR's revenues increased from the previous year to Rs 966.8 million.