Government arm biggest defaulter with DD

NEW DELHI: The government may be worried about Indian pubcaster Doordarshan's indifferent annual revenues, but surprisingly one of its own arms, National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), is the biggest defaulter.

According to a parliamentary panel report, tabled earlier this week in the Lower House of Parliament, NFDC heads the list of defaulters, who owe DD money from 2002-2003 to 2003-2004 with an outstanding of Rs 707.3 million out of a total of Rs 927.4 million.What's more, NFDC has also questioned the figure quoted by DD and a "reconciliation is in progress" at then information and broadcasting ministry, which is the parent body for media units like NFDC.

DD and All India Radio, managed by Prasar Bharati, are pubcasters and are largely funded by taxpayers' money.

The second biggest defaulter in DD list, Film Craft, is way behind NFDC with a total outstanding of Rs 126.6 million, which has been recovered already by encashing various bank guarantees that such agencies have to submit to DD before doing business with it.

Questioned by the parliamentary panel on the steps taken by DD to mop up the outstanding dues, it was informed by I&B ministry representative that accreditation rules have been made "stringent and the limit of the bank guarantee has been raised" substantially from Rs 3, 00,000 to Rs 2.5 million.

As a part of the stringent measures now being employed by DD to reduce its liabilities, the panel was informed that clearance of outstanding dues is a pre-condition in case of defaulter-producers wanting to return with programmes on the DD platform.

The report also quotes ministerial representatives as saying that in a bid to recover outstanding money, on-air programmes of defaulting producers are not stooped immediately as "chances of recovery are much better if programme is on air."

It is not only the national channel that has a long defaulters list. Various regional centres of DD too contribute to this loss with Kolkata at No 1 spot with outstanding amounting to Rs 327.6 million.

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