Parliamentary Committee lambasts Govt on lax approach towards Sam Pitroda report

NEW DELHI: A Parliamentary Standing Committee has once again lashed at the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Prasar Bharati for failing to make any headway in implementation of the Sam Pitroda Committee Recommendations.

The Standing Committee on Information Technology, which also examines issues relating to the I&B Ministry, said it was “disquieting to note that there has not been much headway in the implementation of the recommendations of the report, which was presented to the Government in February 2014.”

For the first time, the Parliamentary Committee, which had castigated the government on this issue just a few months earlier, has given the Ministry a period of three months in which to submit a report of action taken.

It noted that the Expert Committee had been constituted to review the institutional framework of Prasar Bharati, including its relationship with the Government.

“There seems to be lack of coordination and cohesion between the I&B Ministry and Prasar Bharati in so far as implementation of these recommendations are concerned, because Prasar Bharati claims to have taken several operational and policy initiatives separately, particularly in the absence of any clarity from the Government about the acceptance of the Sam Pitroda Committee’s entire range of recommendations,” the Committee said.

Taking a serious note, the Parliamentary Committee said that it took “a serious view of this casual and lackadaisical approach of the Government on such an important matter.”

Considering that the overall action plan of Prasar Bharati was getting delayed, the Committee recommended that the Ministry should come out with a definite action plan for the implementation of the recommendations of the Expert Committee in a time-bound manner.

Meanwhile, the Committee also said the Ministry may suitably amend the provisions of the Prasar Bharati Act 1990 so that the functional autonomy of Prasar Bharati envisaged in the Act is not diluted and the much desired autonomy for the national broadcaster is secured.

It noted that the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Prasar Bharati had reviewed the Prasar Bharati Act 1990 and recommended certain amendments to improve the governance in Prasar Bharati. But the Committee had been told that these contentious Sections were not covered in the GoM recommendations.

The Committee said it had been given to understand that the sections in the Prasar Bharati Act 1990, which empower the Central Government to regulate the recruitment conditions in Prasar Bharati are impinging upon the autonomous character of the organization.

It was informed that the Ministry is in the process of assessing and analysing the proposals made in the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Amendment Bill. 

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