| 04 Oct 2023
Sam Pitroda report on Prasar Bharati revamp caught in legal wrangles

NEW DELHI: Not only has minimal action been taken on the Sam Pitroda Committee report of February 2014 to revitalize Prasar Bharati, the Department of Expenditure has expressed inability to undertake the work of man power audit despite assurances in reply to several questions in Parliament.

Little or no action on manpower audit

A Parliament Committee has now recommended that the terms for reference for conduct of manpower audit be worked out and the manpower audit which is critical to both All India Radio and Doordarshan completed within the current financial year 2017-18 as assured to the Committee.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology which also examines issues relating to Information and Broadcasting Ministry has noted that the Ministry had asked Prasar Bharati to prepare an action plan on the 26 recommendations of the Sam Pitroda Committee.

The Parliamentary Committee has expressed concern that ‘there is no progress in the issue of man power audit’.

When Prasar Bharati was suggested to explore the feasibility of manpower audit through some reputed public/private agencies, the Internal Finance Division advised for pre-determination of terms of reference for conduct of manpower audit before inviting quotations from reputed audit organization.

But the Committee noted that Prasar Bharati was yet to take a decision in the matter.

“The Committee need not emphasise that manpower related issues have time and again affected the efficiency and performance of the organization. Prasar Bharati in order to achieve its vision and compete with private broadcasters needs to attract, retain and develop talent in the organization. It needs to respond to changing market conditions and make an assessment of its manpower requirement to overcome the competency gaps,” the Committee said.

Transfer of AIR, DD assets to Prasar Bharati held up by legal wrangles

Furthermore, Prasar Bharati has not provided complete inventorisation of assets with regard to the recommendation of transfer of assets.

The Parliamentary Committee noted that the Ministry had advised Prasar Bharati to complete inventorisation of assets.

The Ministry has recommended that the Law Ministry propose to issue notification whereby all the movable assets of AIR/DD may be transferred to Prasar Bharati on lease basis/non-alienable basis and all movable assets are so transferred without any restriction on availability or disposal.

The Law Ministry’s Legislative Department has suggested that properties vested with the Central Government already stands transferred to Prasar Bharati with the commencement of the Prasar Bharati Act 1997 and there is no enabling provision to issue a notification for transfer of properties and assets which will dilute the provision of the Act.

However, the Central Government may determine the terms and conditions of transfer of properties and assets which can be set by issue of an executive order.

The Ministry has informed that the terms and conditions of transfer of properties and assets are being finalized in consultation with Department of Legal Affairs.

The Committee is of the view that once Prasar Bharati owns its assets, it can go for selective monetization of idle assets and generate much needed revenue. The Committee has recommended to the I and B Ministry to complete the exercise in a time bound manner and apprise them of the progress in the matter.