Prasar Bharati's grants-in-aid slashed marginally

NEW DELHI: In a surprising move, the grants-in-aid to Prasar Bharati, which manages India's pubcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio, has been shaved off marginally, though the realisation by the organisation of previous year's help had been more than 100 per cent.

In the budgetary proposals for financial year 2004-05, the government dole to Prasar Bharati stands at Rs 9.75 billion (975.26 crore), while last year it was Rs 10.06 million (1005.64 crore).

However, the slashing of the grant-in-aid has been seemingly offset by an increase in the plan outlay for Prasar Bharati to Rs 4,800 million for the current year from Rs. 4,150 million. This indicates that money has been sanctioned for some ongoing projects, as also expansion.

The grants-in-aid to Prasar Bharati is given by the governmenmt to cover the gap in resources of the organisation in meeting its revenue expenditure.

Loans extended to Prasar Bharati, also, has shown an increase to Rs 1.69 million (169.50 crore) from Rs 1.66 million (166 crore). The government loan is provided so that Prasar Bharati can meet its needs to finance capital expenditure.

However, the impact of today's budgetary proposals on Doordarshan's plans to start a KU-band DTH service could not be immediately ascertained as Prasar Bharati officials were not available for comments.

Meanwhile, the annual budgetary allocation for the information and broadcasting ministry has gone up marginally to Rs 15.14 million (1514.17 crore) from Rs 15.12 million (1512.12 crore).

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