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I&B budgetary allocations up by Rs 600 crore; Prasar Bharati’s grants-in-aid upped

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NEW DELHI: The total budget of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has been raised to Rs 3711.11 crore for 2015-16 against the revised budget of Rs 3176.80 crore (against the initial allocation of Rs 3316 crore) for the year 2014-15. This was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to the Parliament on Saturday, while presenting the Union Budget 2015 - 16.

Additionally, the grants-in-aid for Prasar Bharati have been also raised from the revised estimates of Rs 2361.54 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 2824.55 crore for 2015-16, apart from an investment of Rs 200 crore by the government in the pubcaster.

The investment in the pubcaster was stopped over the past two years but has been revived this year in the budget for 2015-16.

Although the grants-in-aid for Prasar Bharati had provided for Rs 90 crore for the Kisan TV channel in the budget presented by Jaitley in July last year after the new government took over, the revised estimates for 2014-15 show the amount as Rs 21.68 crore and this amount has been raised to Rs 45 crore in the budget for 2015-16.

An explanatory memorandum says that the grants-in-aid is meant for meeting salary and salary related expenditure. In addition, there is a proposal for Kisan TV for making available information to farmers across the country.

(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 allocation under ‘Secretariat - Social services’ covering centenary of cinema celebrations and digitisation of cable television among other things has gone up to Rs 235.23 crore as against the revised estimates of Rs 92.81 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’.

The allocation under the Film Sector has been reduced to Rs 130.69 crore for 2015-16. The budget for the film sector for 2014-15 was Rs 135.81 crore while the revised estimates had put this figure at Rs 128.40 crore. There is an additional outlay of Rs 7.68 crore towards certification of cinematographic films.

For the sixth year in a row, the government has not announced any investment in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).

The allocation for Press Information Services, which includes grants to the Press Council of India has been marginally increased to Rs 71.45 crore from last year’s revised estimates of Rs 65.47 crore to meet the expenses for the Press Information Bureau, and the Press Council of India.

For the first time after almost three decades, there is no allocation to the Press Trust of India for running the non-aligned countries news pool. (The pool had been established in the eighties but had gradually ceased to exist, although the allocation to PTI had continued.)

The allocation to the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre has been reduced marginally to Rs 10.41 crore from the revised estimates of Rs 12.52 crore in 2014-15. 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 more than halved to Rs 91.02 crore against the revised estimates of Rs 210.48 crore and budget allocation of Rs 230.37 crore for 2014-15, 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 for research and training in mass communication has been raised marginally to Rs 26.26 crore as against the revised estimates of Rs 24.48 crore and the budgetary allocation of Rs 33.54 crore for 2014-15. 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 an increase in the lump sum provision for projects/schemes for development of North-eastern areas including Sikkim to Rs 92 crore for 2015-16. The budgetary allocation had been Rs 100.5 crore in the 2014-15 but had come down in the revised estimates to Rs 75.2 crore.

The Minister has also proposed a Centre for Film Production, Animation and Gaming in Arunachal Pradesh for the North Eastern states. Though there is no separate budgeting for it, Ministry sources told indiantelevision.com that this will come under the lump sum provision for the North East and from the Development of North Eastern Region Ministry.

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