Suresh Panda may be Prasar Bharati interim CEO; liberal DD auction criteria recommended

NEW DELHI: Suresh Panda, member (personnel) in Prasar Bharati is expected to take over as the acting chief executive officer of the pubcaster after the incumbent CEO Jawhar Sircar demits office on 4 November.

The Prasar Bharati Board has recommended relaxation in the criteria for auction of prime time slots on DD National. This decision was taken at a meeting of the Board held today under the chairmanship of Dr Surya Prakash.

However, Prasar Bharati sources told that Panda's ad hoc charge will be subject to approval by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

After 4 November, a high-level committee headed by India's vice-president Hamid Ansari will meet as stipulated in the Prasar Bharati Act 1990 to select a new CEO.

Meanwhile, the Board also took some decisions with regard to the proposed auction of prime time slots on Doordarshan National.

It was decided, among other changes, to fix the minimum reserve price for the auction of half-hour slots at Rs 1,50,000. Full details were not available but there may also be a reduction in the total number of hours a prospective producer should have clocked either as a filmmaker or as television producer.

The slot auction was first announced in June but failed as there were no bidders, while those who bid the second time late last month failed to meet the minimum requirements.

The regulations had been relaxed and the second auction had been fixed for 5 September.

Under the rules until now, only producers/production houses that have produced at least 200 hours of general entertainment programming including feature film production in any Indian language in the last three years will be eligible to apply for bidding for slots on the national channel of Doordarshan.

Following a revision of terms after June, the Prasar Bharati Board had said that production houses with a turnover of minimum Rs 3 crore per annum in the field of TV and Film production in the last three financial years are eligible to apply.

Applicants for weekend slots in the genres of Reality, Game, Quiz, should have produced 100 hrs of such content in the last 3 years.

Earlier, only those with production in television and a minimum of 300 hours had been allowed. But this has been amplified ti include film production houses and 200 hours of entertainment programming.

Successful bidder(s) will produce fresh programmes in various genres of general entertainment programme for Doordarshan adhering to the programming/broadcasting codes of Prasar Bharati.

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