Prasar Bharati Act to be amended based on GoM recommendations
New Delhi: Based on recommendations of a group of ministers (GoM), the I&B ministry is planning several amendments in the Prasar Bharati Act, 1990 which include omitting provisions for constitution of a Broadcasting Council and a separate Parliamentary Committee for Prasar Bharati.
"The Ministry has prepared a Cabinet note on various recommendations of the GoM and circulated the same for inter ministerial consultation," Minister of State in the I&B Ministry S Jagathrakshakan said Tuesday in a statement tabled in the Lok Sabha.
"Besides the GoM recommendations on financial and manpower issues of Prasar Bharati, the Cabinet Note contained certain legislative proposals relating to amendments to the Prasar Bharati Act, 1990, as suggested by the GoM," he said.
Jagathrakshakan gave details of the action taken by his ministry on recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Information and Technology in its 22nd report on Demand for Grants (2011-12) for the I&B ministry.
The Standing Committee had earlier in its report asked the ministry to either constitute a Parliamentary Committee and a Broadcasting Council as per the Prasar Bharati Act or amend these provisions.
Jagathrakshkan said that GoM had felt that a single complaints redressal mechanism for all broadcasters under the aegis of the proposed Broadcasting authority deserved merit.
"...The proposed Broadcasting Authority can be assigned separate functions in relation to the private Broadcasters and Prasar Bharati. If this is done, then, there will be no need to have a separate Broadcasting Council as envisaged under the Prasar Bharati Act," Jagathrakshakan said.
He added that the GoM had also recommended omitting the provision for setting up of a separate Parliamentary Committee.
Jagthrakshakan said that the I&B ministry was also issuing another Cabinet note on financial restructuring of the Prasar Bharati and filling up of essential posts, following recommendations of the GoM.
Jagathrakshakan also said that the GoM had also examined the issue of the relation between the government and Prasar Bharati after the Shunglu Committee report pointed to irregularities in the broadcast of the Commonwealth Games.
He said the GoM had made several recommendations regarding Prasar Bharati including the composition of the board, the procedure for appointment, removal and tenures of chairperson and the members, the power of government to issue directions to Prasar Bharati.
"Based on the recommendations of the GoM, Ministry has initiated action for carrying out amendments to the PB (Prasar Bharati) Act in consultation with the Ministry of Law and Justice," the minister said.
In his reply, Jagathrakshakan also gave details of the sequence through which the contract for production and coverage of the telecast of Commonwealth Games was handed over to a company SIS Live, which allegedly outsourced it further.
"As per the information available with the ministry, the matter is still under investigation of CBI and no findings have yet been made available to the ministry," Jagathrakshakan said.
He also said that the I&B ministry was trying to set up mechanisms so that it can utilise its funds better and all major activities of the ministry were being monitored.
He also said that his ministry was trying obtain approval for four of the major schemes that had not got all clearances.
The Parliamentary Panel had pointed out that four schemes of the ministry which included setting up of a Global Film School, a National Centre of Excellence for Animation, Gaming and Special Effects, National Film Heritage Mission and an international channel were still awaiting approvals.
Jagathrakshkan said that his ministry had also held a series of discussions with Department of Telecommunications to locate adequate spectrum for mobile TV services but some issues remained.
He added that the I&B ministry was also examining the need for an act of Parliament for upgradation of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) to an institution.
Jagathrakshakan also said that efforts were being made by the Press Council of India to recover fees that had not been paid by some publications.