Prasar Bharati, Centre on collision course

The Prasar Bharati Board on 15th February 2018 will discuss a proposal of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to appoint an IAS officer as a board member, giving it a larger say in the working of the autonomous public service broadcaster.

Key Highlights:-
1. It is learnt that Surya Prakash, who was recently re-appointed Prasar Bharati Chairperson, is likely to red-flag the appointment as it is in contravention of two clauses of the Prasar Bharati Act.
2. One of the board members told that It is not under the board’s jurisdiction to make such a suggestion to the government when there is an Act that clearly lays down the method to make such an appointment. The proposal seeks to bypass the office of Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and if such a resolution is cleared, it will denigrate his position.
3. Clause 4(1) of the Act says the Chairman and all the members of the board are to be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Vice-President, the Chairman of the Press Council of India and a nominee of the President.
4. Clause 6(2) says the member (personnel) “shall be whole-time member” and Clause 6(7) says whole-time members shall be the employees of the corporation.
5. The Ministry had adversited twice for the post in last year, and received around 50 applications in response for first and 40 applications for second.
6. The officials complain that the Ministry did not set the wheels running and the applications were junked.
7. The Ministry’s proposal is clearly to have a better control over the autonomous body, which completely defeats the purpose of having an independent organisation.
8. The board will deliberate on a proposal to appoint the journalists Siddharth Zarabi and Abhijeet Majumdar in editorial positions.

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