Setting up broadcast regulator to cost government Rs 601 million

NEW DELHI: The proposed Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India (Brai) is likely to cost the government Rs 601.1 million to set up, which includes recurring and non-recurring expenses.

According to projections made by the information and broadcasting ministry, the annual cost on pay and allowances of officers and staff of Brai would be Rs 85.7 million, with the chairperson's remuneration being the highest wherein the monthly financial implication would be Rs 60,000.

Non-recurring expenses have been pegged at Rs 124.7 million, which include basic infrastructure for Brai. The Indian government is proposing to set up Brai under the yet to be enacted Broadcasting Services Regulation Act. The functions of Brai will be to oversee the broadcast and cable industry in all its entirety with powers ranging from granting licences for any type of broadcasting services to ensuring quality of services to monitor content beamed on radio and TV channels.

It has also been proposed that Brai have five regional offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati.

There would be six full-time members of the regulatory authority, apart from the chairperson, with everybody's term of office being for five years or till the time they attain the age of 65 --- whichever being earlier.

The chairperson or any other member would not be eligible for a second term, but a member can be eligible for appointment as chairperson for the remaining part of his term.

Even though Brai is being set up as an independent organization, the government would keep a control over it through a government official of not less than additional secretary's rank who will act as the chief executive of Brai.

A draft note, prepared by the government, states that the secretary of Brai would act as its CEO and the federal government would make available a panel of not less than three officials for a selection to be made.

All broadcast and cable related cases pending before the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), presently acting as the broadcast regulator, and the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) will be deemed as transferred to Brai once it is set up.

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