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FinMin gives Prasar Bharati enhanced grants-in-aid

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NEW DELHI: The grants-in-aid for Prasar Bharati has been raised from the revised estimates of Rs 2089.56 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 2421.58 crore, even as there is no separate investment by the government in the pubcaster for the second year in a row.

Interestingly, the grants-in-aid for Prasar Bharati had been raised in the interim budget (for four months) by the previous government to Rs 2331.58 crore which remains the same and the only difference is in the addition of Rs 90 crore for Kisan TV.

In the budget for 2014-15 presented in Parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has made provision of Rs 200 crore from Internal and Extra-budgetary resources for Prasar Bharati and the total plan outlay for broadcasting is Rs 731.58 crore.

An explanatory memorandum says that the grants-in-aid is meant for meeting the salary and salary related expenditure. In addition, there is a proposal for Kisan TV for making available information to farmers across the country for which a provision of Rs 100 crore was announced. I&B Ministry secretary Bimal Julka confirmed to indiantelevision.com that the Planning Commission had sent a note about setting aside Rs 100 crore for Kisan TV.

Expenditure on salaries of Prasar Bharati has fallen on the shoulders of the government since all Prasar Bharati employees who were in employment as on 5 October 2007 have been given deemed deputation status.

The total budget of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has been raised to Rs 3316 crore for 2014-15 against the revised budget of Rs 2855.03 crore (against the initial allocation of Rs 3035.65 crore) for the year 2013-14.     

The budgetary allocations in most sectors have remained the same as proposed by the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the interim budget earlier this year on 17 February in view of the forthcoming elections, apart from Kisan TV and some other smaller changes.

The allocation under ‘Secretariat - Social services’ covering centenary of cinema celebrations and digitisation of cable television among other things has gone up to Rs 126.55 crore as against the revised estimates of Rs 79.72 crore. Other subjects under this head include the National Film Heritage Mission, anti-piracy measures, promotion of Indian cinema overseas, production of films and documentaries, and setting up a centre of excellence for animation, gaming and visual effects. The explanatory note adds that Secretariat - Social services also covers expenses on development of community radio, and development support to the north-east as well as Jammu and Kashmir and ‘other identified areas’. Interestingly, the allocation in this sector is Rs 3 crore less than the proposal by Chidambaram in the interim budget.

The allocation under the film sector has, unlike last year, been increased to Rs 135.81 crore for 2014-15. The budget for the film sector for 2013-14 was Rs 117.17 crore while the revised estimates had put this figure at Rs 116.42 crore. There is an additional outlay of Rs 7.18 crore towards certification of cinematographic films.

For the fifth year in a row, the government has not announced any investment in the National Film Development Corporation.

The allocation for Press Information Services which includes grants to the Press Council of India has been marginally increased to Rs 65.44 crore from last year’s revised estimates of Rs 57.56 crore to meet the expenses for the Press Information Bureau, the Press Council of India, and to the Press Trust of India for running the non-aligned countries news pool.

The allocation to the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre has been increased substantially to Rs 13.75 crore from the revised estimates of Rs 7.17 crore in 2013-14. The EMMC was set up for monitoring television and radio channels for violation of programme and advertising codes.

The allocation for advertising and visual publicity has been lowered to Rs 230.37 crore against the revised estimates of Rs 241.6 crore and budget allocation of Rs 239.06 crore for 2013-14, covering expenditure incurred by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity for publicity campaigns through advertising and other printed materials, as well as through radio, television, exhibitions and other outdoor campaigns. The allocation is thus just Rs 3 crore more than that made by Chidambaram.

The allocation for research and training in mass communication has been doubled to Rs 33.54 crore (as proposed in the interim budget) as against the revised estimates of Rs 15.91 crore and the budgetary allocation of Rs 17.85 crore for 2013-14. This covers the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and the Research and Reference Division of the I&B Ministry which collects and collates basic information on subjects of media interest for providing assistance to the Ministry and to its media units, Indian missions overseas, and newspapers and news agencies.

There is a major increase in the lump sum provision for projects/schemes for development of north-eastern areas including Sikkim to Rs 100.5 crore for 2014-15. The budgetary allocation was Rs 90.5 crore in 2013-14 which had come down in the revised estimates to Rs 74 crore.

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