NEW DELHI: A group of ministers (GoM) looking into a possible financial
restructuring of pubcaster Prasar Bharati to boost its revenue generation
capacity has said no final decision has been taken on various options.
On Thursday, Prasar Bharati, which manages Doordarshan and All India
Radio, made a presentation to the GoM highlighting its plus and negative
points, including possible ways to augment revenue generation that
is lagging far behind annual expenses incurred.
While confirming that a presentation was made to the GoM, Prasar
Bharati CEO KS Sarma told indiantelevision.com that it was
made clear to him that the ministers would look into the issue before
taking the package to the Cabinet for a final approval. Sarma added
amongst the many options presented before the GoM were levying a
one-time cess on TV and radio sets in the country and tapping the
These options, Sarma said, were in line with a report prepared by
a panel, headed by information and broadcasting secretary, set up
to look into the financial restructuring. The report is now being
studied by the GoM.
Asked whether the GoM and then the government are likely to okay
the financial restructuring of Prasar Bharati during his tenure,
which ends 30 June 2006, Sarma replied in the negative, hinting
that the issue is likely to take more time.
Amongst the options, as has been reported by indiantelevision.com
last year, is also one that envisages the government holding equity
in the pubcaster against assets, which will facilitate a capital
restructuring of the financially beleaguered Prasar Bharati or Broadcasting
Corporation of India.
A government official added that media reports on financial restructuring
of Prasar Bharati were "premature."
In the meanwhile, reports on levying a cess on TV and radio sets
to give a fillip to Prasar Bharati revenue has almost set the cat
the pigeon with stiff opposition coming from consumer electronics
However, present I&B minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi's predecessor
Jaipal Reddy had been against levying a cess on TV and radio sets.
His justification: the cost of collecting this cess from all over
the country would be more than the actual amount collected.
British broadcaster BBC is partly funded through this mode where
Englanders pay a nominal amount at the time of buying of a TV or
radio set. A recent proposal of the Tony Blair government to hike
this amount has been widely resisted British citizens.
TV CESS: CETMA FEARS GREY MARKET WILL BENEFIT
These facts, along with GoM's pending recommendation, notwithstanding,
the Consumer Electronics and TV Manufacturers Association (Cetma)
of India has
said that the move will help increase the grey market for the products.
The association, according to the Hindu Businessline, has
said the proposed licence fee of 10-15 per cent ad valorem of purchase
price will raise the present level of taxes from 35 per cent to
45-50 per cent.
Bharati financial rejig near completion
Bharati revenue likely to cross Rs 10 billion in FY 2006
Bharati: Government mulls capital restructuring