Prasar Bharati asked to rework DD News proposal

NEW DELHI: Doordarshan News just cannot keep away from controversies, it seems. 

India's pubcaster Prasar Bharati, which oversees the functioning of DD and All India Radio, has been asked by the finance ministry to rework its fund-needing proposal for DD News as there is no or very little revenue projection for the news channel that would be run on taxpayers' money.

DD News is slated to be re-launched later this year after having an 18-month stint on air from 2001.

According to government sources, the finance ministry mandarins, after going through the DD News relaunch proposal, envisaging an additional funding of Rs 1320 million per annum (current financial year's demand is about Rs 700 million), have pointed out that the proposal looks a bit weird as no revenue projections have been given.

When contacted, a senior executive of the Prasar Bharati Corporation admitted today that the government has asked it to "prune the proposed expenditure on DD News channel." 

"Any serious news channel, even if that comes from the public broadcaster, should have a revenue stream and revenue projections," a senior government official said, pointing out that the DD News proposal "does not have much of revenue projections till 2005, which looks absurd."

The government official further pointed out that if revenue projections are given, then those figures could be adjusted against the government aid to be forwarded to Prasar Bharati for the DD News channel. "It seems that Prasar Bharati is undertaking some changes in its proposal for DD News," the official added.

Surprisingly, Prasar Bharati in its proposal for DD News had also made provisions for hiring some 800-odd extra people --- a request that looks strange considering the huge over-40-000 strong workforce already at its disposal in DD and AIR.

See earlier story-

DD News relaunch costs pegged at Rs 1.3 billion

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