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Parliamentary panel pans DD, AIR for recurring lapses

NEW DELHI: Expressing disappointment that both, All-India Radio and Doordarshan, failed to use the amounts allocated under the budget for 2016-17, a Parliamentary Committee stated: “Concrete steps may be taken to resolve all longstanding administrative issues.”

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, which also examines issues relating to the information and broadcasting ministry, recommended that Doordarshan and All-India Radio need to make sincere and sustained efforts in creating high-quality content that can connect with people coupled with strong marketing strategy.

Need to address recurring structural and procedural issues

Keeping in view the financial performance of AIR and DD during 2016-17, the Committee stated that it was inclined to conclude that the under-utilisation of funds could have been avoided had the Ministry addressed the recurring structural and procedural issues.

The Committee felt that this has reflected poorly on the overall performance of Prasar Bharati which is also evident from the reduced fund allocation for both, AIR and DD in 2017-18.

To boost the performance of AIR and Doordarshan, the administrative problems as well as implementation related issues need to be resolved on priority. The Committee are of the firm opinion that unless these administrative and implementation related issues are addressed on priority, there is bleak scope for desired performance in the spheres of AIR and Doordarshan.

Emphasis on promotion of DD/AIR Archives

It noted that both AIR and DD have rich archives including biographies and old speeches of eminent persons which should be made use for qualitative content.

Apart from generating revenue for Prasar Bharati, this will motivate young generation and expose them to the rich heritage of the country.

AIR financial and physical performance

The Committee noted that All India Radio had has been able to spend Rs 1.0827 billion which was only 61.17% of the allocated fund of Rs 1.77 billion at Budgetary Estimates and Revised Estimates stage for the year 2016-17.

The Committee noted that for the year 2017-18, the budgetary allocation for AIR has been reduced from Rs 1.77 billion to Rs 1.54 billion

The Ministry attributed improper response against major tenders, delay in delivery of a major imported consignment and some other administrative reasons for this under-utilisation. The Ministry said there had been acute shortage of staff in AIR at all levels particularly at middle and lower professional levels; and the transition from Government organization to corporate sector has witnessed almost a complete halt on recruitments, training and promotions.

As far as acquisition of land for new setups is concerned, the Ministry proposes taking up the matter with respective state Governments for speedy disposal of the issues. The Ministry have also apprised that some Schemes are not implemented in time due to local issues including law and order particularly in the north east regions and border areas.

However, AIR has increased the total number of transmitters from 432 (MW-148, SW-48, FM-236) as on 31 March 2012 to 610 (MW-143, SW-48, FM-419) which include 195 100 W FM Transmitters as on 10 February 2017.

DD financial and physical performance

Similarly, Doordarshan has spent only Rs 1.7655 billion which is only 65% of the allocated fund of Rs. 2.73 billion at BE and RE stage for 2016-17.

As a result, the allocation for Doordarshan has been reduced from Rs 2.21 billion to Rs 2.13 billion

The Ministry has cited cancellation of tenders due to administrative/technical issues to be the reasons for this under-utilisation.

Doordarshan during 2016-17 completed technical facility for launch of the new TV Channel “DD Arun Prabha”; placed orders for implementation of Indian CAS (iCAS); for its DTH platform Free Dish; the Multichannel Automated Playback facility set up and installation of Multi Camera Studio Production facility in HDTV format are in progress at Central Production Centre in Delhi; the old ageing HPT replaced by new 10 KW HPT at one location; and completed all towers of Prasar Bharati House. (In fact, Prasar Bharati and Doordarshan are now housed in the same premises.)

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