Prasar Bharati gets Rs 3.3 billion loan to set up broadcast centre for Commonwealth Games

NEW DELHI: Prasar Bharati is to get a loan of Rs 3.26 billion towards setting up an ‘International Broadcasting Centre’ and other facilities as a host broadcaster for the Commonwealth Games 2010.


This is in addition to the grant-in-aid to the tune of Rs 11.42 billion, according to the Union Budget for 2008-09 presented to Parliament today by Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

The loan will also be aimed at meeting the capital expenditure of the public service broadcaster.

In a major decision taken during the presentation of budget for 2000-2001, the then Government had announced that since Prasar Bharati was an autonomous organisation, it would only receive grants-in-aid and loans from the total budget of the Information and Broadcasting ministry.

This year’s loan is almost two times the revised estimate of Rs 1.67 billion (as against the allocation in the budget of Rs 2.17 billion) in the Budget for 2007-08. Similarly, the grant-in-aid last year was Rs 10.87 billion.

The total budget allocation for the I&B ministry in the Budget for 2008-09 is Rs 19.10 billion as against Rs 16.10 billion in the revised estimates for 2007-08.

There is a marginal increase in the allocation for films from Rs 718.5 million in the revised estimates for 2007-08 to Rs 848.5 million in the Budget presented today. In addition, there is an allocation of Rs 46.6 million for film certification. The budgetary allocation for films is aimed at covering the Films Division, the Directorate of Film Festivals that organised national and international film festivals, the Children’s Film Society, India, and the training institutes in Pune and Kolkata.

The National Films Development Corporation, which recently resumed investment in film production, is to receive a loan of Rs 80 million.

While the ministry had only used Rs 501.4 million of the budgetary grant of Rs 848 million on advertising and visual publicity during 2007-08, the allocation has been raised to Rs 743.6 million in the new budget.

Interestingly, the allocation of Rs 358.5 million for Press Information Services includes funds for a subsidy for running India’s news pool desk of non-aligned news agencies pool through the Press Trust of India despite the fact that the news pool has been non-existent for several years.

Though Chidambaram said the Northeast would continue to receive special attention, the lumpsum provision for projects/schemes for development of the region and Sikkim has come down from the Rs 190.2 million (as against the Rs 205.2 million in the budget for 2007-08) to Rs 179.6 million in the new budget.

There is a provision of Rs 30 million to the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre for monitoring TV channels and radio stations for violation of programme and advertising codes. The provision in the budget had been Rs 59 million but the EMMC had used only Rs 30 million, according to the revised estimates for 2007-08.

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