Television

AIR hunts for new DG while DD's Quraishi stays put

NEW DELHI: India's pubcaster Doordarshan director-general S.Y. Quraishi may be staying put for the moment. His new posting orders have not come but the official hunt for a DG for DD's sister organization, All India Radio, has been set in motion.

Prasar Bharati, the autonomous body that oversees the functioning of DD and AIR, is releasing an advertisement on Saturday in the government-run Employment News inviting candidatures for the post of DG of AIR.

In the second phase, the advertisement would also be released in leading national dailies next week.

Officers of central and state governments, autonomous bodies and public sector undertakings holding analogous post on regular basis or with three years regular service in the pay scale of Rs 18,400 - 22,400 or equivalent and having experience of at least five years of media management can make a grab for the post. There are other requirements as well.

What is heartening then is that AIR is also looking for people outside the government fold. People working in the private sector and/or self-employed professionals too can send in applications. Also, the age of applicants' post for DG-AIR can not be over 55 years.

Meanwhile, if conditional access and Star News were not enough to give sleepless nights to India's information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who, according to sources close to him, is "loving the shadow boxing", the imminent ouster of Doordarshan's DG Quraishi is becoming another thorny issue.

With Quraishi, loved by the media for his easy accessibility, refusing to give in easily, Prasad is trying his best to distance himself from the whole episode. Of his own volition, Prasad has told journalists that he wants to "keep away" from la'affaire Quraishi, though the official buzz is that Quraishi's ouster is because of his inability to get along with the minister.

According to Prasar Bharati sources, Quraishi's stand is that if the government wants him out, then it has to give him a new posting out of DD as he would not put in his papers on his own.

What has resulted in the moves to oust Quraishi? Several theories are doing the rounds, but a senior official of Prasar Bharati admitted, "It is the internal politics of the I&B ministry and the government that has made the DG a scapegoat."

With Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma unwilling to shoulder additional duties of the DG Doordarshan, it may just happen that the post that had been filled with a regular appointment after a long time would once again be vacant.

However, the re-launch of DD News channel is certainly one of the factors that could have led to Quraishi's ouster. According to the buzz in the ministry, the DG was slow to move on the debatable re-launch of DD News, a project that is increasingly becoming the government's pet.

However, the finance ministry, which has approved an additional grant of Rs 1260 million, to Prasar Bharati, mostly to be spent on DD News' re-launch later this year, is yet to disburse the amount.

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