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Prasar Bharati embarks on huge modernisation programme

Posted on Nov 12, 06:43PM | UNI

With a view to furthering the process of democratising the public broadcasting/telecasting network, while ensuring greater involvement of the people, Prasar Bharati has undertaken a massive programme at an estimated cost of about Rs 500 crore.

This was revealed here today by Prasar Bharatri Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jawhar Sircar while interacting with reporters during his brief visit to the city.

Elaborating on his 'focused vision' to improve the functioning of both All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD) across the country and bring them on a par with the best of their kind in the world under the current competitive environment, Mr Sircar felt that unless the entire process of broadcasting and telecasting news and other programmes through the government media was democratised further, it would be very difficult to remain competitive in the present environment of globalisation.

He said to begin with, they were planning to upgrade and modernise the news room environment of both AIR and DD with most modern technology and with fresh recruitment drive at different levels.

'We are also planning to set up a 15-member high power Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) in both AIR and DD at the Central level to suggest and ensure top quality programmes in both the divisions,' said Mr Sircar.

'We have also decided to appoint Regional Advisory Committees in as many as eleven Regional centres of AIR and DD including those in Guwahai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Srinagar, Jallandhar, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Thiruvantpuram, possibly before the year end,' the Prasar Bharati CEO said and added each of these Regional Committee would comprise about 50 members from different fields with fairly good experience of handling the broadcasting and telecasting networks.

Mr Sircar categorically ruled out any notion that Prasar Bharati had been experiencing huge financial losses for the last many years.

On the contrary, the CEO said, following the wiping out of the entire credit of Rs 12,007 crore by the Union cabinet last year, the income of Prasar Bharari had been doubled.

'Keeping this in mind and exploring several new avenues we are also confident of increasing Prasar Bharati's annual revenue to about Rs 1,800 crore during the current fiscal itself from about Rs 1,300 crore earned last year,' Mr Sircar said.

When his attention was drawn to the absence of new recruitment process in Prasar Bharati for about 15 years leading to over 12,300 vacancies now, Mr Sircar said following intense negotiations at the ministerial level, the new recruitment process had finally begun and about 3,350 people would be appointed nationwide during the next one or two years as about 1150 people would be recruited soon with the first installment of fund with much higher wages and salary.

Asked about the funding of the entire modernisation, technological upgradation and recruitment processes, the Prasar Bharati CEO said following last year's grant of Rs 300 crore, the Centre had sanctioned Rs 585 crore for the current fiscal of which Rs 427 crore had already been spent.

About the possibility of introducing the state-of-the art DRM technology of broadcasting in AIR, Mr Sircar said they had a plan to introduce DRM technology in Chinsura in West Bengal within the next three months, while bringing similar technology also to Rajkot soon.

'We are also planning to celebrate the 50 years of Prasar Bharati on November 23 through several All India prgorammes,' he said.