Prasar Bharati grant down, fourfold increase in loans

NEW DELHI: Even as the grant-in-aid to Prasar Bharati in the budgetary allocations for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for 2007-2008 has come down, there has been a more than fourfold increase in the loans to the public broadcaster over the current financial year.

The loan to Prasar Bharati has been fixed at Rs 2,174.4 million as compared to Rs 411.1 million as sanctioned in the Revised Estimates for 2006-07. The grant-in-aid has come down further, from Rs 11,748.2 million in the Revised Estimates for 2006-7 (as compared to the Budgetary allocation of Rs 12,340.7 million) to Rs 10,639.3 million. All this is apart from the investment of Rs 2,174.4 million.

In keeping with a decision taken with the budget for 2000-01, Prasar Bharati is being funded as a full-fledged autonomous body with effect from April 2000. The grant-in-aid is to cover the gap in resources of Prasar Bharati in meeting its revenue expenditure, while the loans are to finance the capital expenditure.

The total budgetary allocation for the I&B Ministry for 2007-08 is Rs 16,818.4 million as compared to Rs 16,600 million in the Revised Estimates for 2006-07 (as against a Budgetary allocation of Rs 17,160 million in the Budget).

While there is no announcement of any new programmes, the Budget document says the allocation of Rs 220.8 million for buildings and machinery includes funds for the multi-storey building of the Films Division in Mumbai, the Phase II building of the National Film Archives of India in Pune, and a mini Media Centre of the Press Information Bureau in Delhi.

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