Prasar Bharati to get budgetary support of over 10 billion

NEW DELHI: Contrary to expectations, the government has marginally increased its financial support to Prasar Bharati (translated in English as the Broadcasting Corporation of India), which is an indication that such support would continue for some time to come.

In the budgetary proposal for financial year 2005-06, the government grants-in-aid to Prasar Bharati stands at Rs 10.0961 billion, while last year the revised estimates for the same was Rs 10 billion.

The loan component, which is given to finance Prasar Bharati's capital expenditure, has been raised quite sharply to Rs 1.75 billion in contrast to Rs 9.1 million last year.

The grants-in-aid to Prasar Bharati, which manages Doordarshan and All India Radio, is given by the government to cover the gap in resources of the organisation in meeting its revenue expenditure.

Meanwhile, the annual budgetary allocation for the information and broadcasting ministry has gone up marginally from Rs 15.14 million to Rs 16.03 million.

In the run-up to the making of the Budget, it had been reported that the government was proposing slashing the grants-in-aid to Prasar Bharati as it wants the organisation to generate revenue to try and bridge the gap between expenditure and earnings.

After taking over in May last, I&B minister Jaipal Reddy has been saying that Prasar Bharati should explore other avenues of raising revenue. The minister had also let loose a proposal to levy a one time cess of TV and radio sets in the country to fund Prasar Bharati. This idea has not gone down too well with some political parties as well as TV set manufacturers.

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