Surya Prakash becomes first Prasar Bharati chairman to get salary

NEW DELHI: For the first time since the Prasar Bharati came into existence in 1997, the chairman of its board has been made a full-time member with a fat salary of Rs 1lakh a month.

Until now, the chairman like other part-time members received an allowance every time he attended a board meeting, and were not entitled to a salary. In the case of the chairman, he received Rs 5000 for each meeting.

Under the new notification issued on 5 June, the chairman Dr A Surya Prakash who is a veteran journalist is entitled to receive Rs 10,000 per day subject to the overall monthly ceiling of Rs 1 lakh per month, for those days in a month when he is required to "perform any official work or duty" in the discharge of his functions as chairman of Prasar Bharati, including attending meetings.

Interestingly, the notification amending the “Prasar Bharati Salary, Allowances, and other conditions of the chairman, whole-time and part-time members rules 2000” has been made retrospective from the day Prakash was appointed chairman on 29 October 2014. It is learnt that a senior official of Prasar Bharati had in fact written a letter to the Ministry in this connection on 20 January this year.

The amendment says the payment of daily allowance will be for those “days when he is required to perform any official work or duty in the discharge of his functions as chairman of Prasar Bharati, including the attendance of the meeting of the Prasar Bharati Board or its committees.”

The amendment makes it clear that meeting allowance will be admissible for the Prasar Bharati Board or its committees.

Prasar Bharati sources said this was because he was the first chairman – a government appointee from the Vivekananda Foundation - who had been attending office almost daily even before the notification.

Furthermore the sources said that although the board has had a journalist – Mrinal Pande – as chairperson before, this is the first time that the pubcaster has a journalist who has experience in electronic media.

When contacted, Prakash told that it would not be appropriate for him to say anything about this since it is a government decision.

Prakash will now also be entitled to an official vehicle, something no earlier chairman has had, although Prasar Bharati source said that the courtesy of pick and drop was always extended to the chairman and part-time members for the board meetings.

While the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act was passed in 1990, it was notified only in September 1997.

The Board shall consist of a chairman; one executive member; one member (Finance); one member (Personnel); and six part-time members.

In addition, the Directors-General of All India Radio and Doordarshan are ex-officio members. The board has one representative of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to be nominated by that Ministry; and two representatives of the employees of the Corporation, of whom one shall be elected by the engineering staff from amongst themselves and one shall be elected by the other employee from amongst themselves. 

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