`Add provisions in Prasar Bharati Act for more women in board`
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 22:57
New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has asked the government to incorporate mandatory provisions in Prasar Bharati Act to ensure presence of more women in the public broadcaster's board.

In its recommendation, which seems to have shades of women empowerment, the panel said: "for creating a media environment more responsive to women, the committee had recommended the government should incorporate mandatory provisions in Prasar Bharati Act to ensure presence of more women in its board.

In its reply (to the panel's recommendation made last year in an earlier report) the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said such a provision may not be required, because as of now, one part-time member on the board is a woman (Mamata Shankar, whose term ended recently) and the candidates recommended for the posts of Director General, All India Radio and Doordarshan (Noureen Naqvi and Aruna Sharma respectively) are women."

The Committee on Empowerment of Women in its report titled 'Working Condition of Women in Prasar Bharati', however observed "it does not agree with the view of the government in this regard... and feels the presence of one woman as part-time member in Prasar Bharati board or the short listing of two women for posts of DG, AIR and DD are sheer coincidences...

"... So, to ensure the presence of more women in Prasar Bharati board, mandatory provisions in its Act need to be incorporated and hence the committee reiterates its earlier recommendation in this regard".

The Committee tabled this report in Parliament during the current budget session.

The committee also expressed hope that the government while filling up future vacancies, would also keep its another recommendation in mind, that two members in the board should be from SC/ST categories.

The I&B ministry in its reply too has said it will keep in mind both the recommendations of the committee while filling up future vacancies.

In another recommendation, the panel had asked the ministry to institute a special award for best women programmer and engineer zone-wise.

The I&B ministry replied: "... a suitable proposal for the creation of special awards for 'Best Woman Engineer' category (zone-wise) is being worked out."

To this, the panel observed: "it is surprised to see that no such proposal is there to institute the 'best woman programmer' award even though the programmers are the mind and soul of any broadcasting organisation.

Moreover, the response from AIR has been quite casual, which the committee does not approve of. It therefore once again desires that both AIR and DD should institute special awards for best women programmers, language-wise and for engineers, zone-wise from 2010 onwards".

Another gender-sensitive recommendation of the panel was: "the committee has been told that DG (DD and AIR) have not incorporated the concept of gender budgeting in its budget proposals.

"However, it has been submitted (by the I&B ministry) that a number of programmes generated and shown by DD and AIR are specifically meant for women. Gender budgeting is not a separate budget for women, it is rather an approach which translates gender commitments into budgetary commitments."

The panel, therefore, has asked the I&B ministry and Prasar Bharati to "incorporate the concept of gender budgeting in its budget proposals and keep a vigil to ensure the flow of funds bring forth a holistic approach towards empowering women".


First Published: Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 22:57

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