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The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) and the board of Prasar Bharati have been at loggerheads over several issues in last few weeks.
The discontent is brewing over an appointment of a serving IAS officer as Member (Personnel) of Prasar Bharati. Prasar Bharati Act 1990 doesn’t allow a serving bureaucrat to be appointed permanently as — CEO, Member (finance) and Member (personnel) — in full-time positions which are the part of core management. However, I&B Ministry wants to make an exception to it.
Prasar Bharti also declined the proposal made by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) to hire two journalists, mentioning the higher remuneration.
In an interview with The Hindu, Chairman of the public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati, A. Surya Prakash said that the recent orders passed by Ministry show utter contempt of Prasar Bharati Act. Stating several directives by the I&B Ministry, he said no other Act has been treated with such contempt by bureaucrats as the Prasar Bharati Act.
He told The Hindu, "What kind of an autonomous media corporation is Prasar Bharati if it cannot hire contractual and casual manpower who are paid out of its own funds?"
However, he is hopeful that government is with the spirit of the Prasar Bharati Act.
Stalwart journalists B.G. Verghese, Nikhil Chakraborty and M.V. Kamath wanted an autonomous corporation after witnessing the gross misuse of media during the black period of Emergency. Thus, Prasar Bharati was created in November 1997. Parliament wanted Prasar Bharati to be a genuinely autonomous corporation.
Prakash spoke about the ideological affinity that he and the BJP have which helped him get the job as Chairman of Prasar Bharati. Talking about his belief in the interview he also said that pseudo-secularism is the root of many problems and Narendra Modi government has a vision to move away from it.