'Prasar Bharati Forced to Operate in Extreme Constriction'

New Delhi
'Prasar Bharati Forced to Operate in Extreme Constriction'

Government may have granted financial and operational autonomy to Prasar Bharati, but every tranche of state funding comes after several frustrating delays affecting its functioning, feels its CEO Jawhar Sircar.

At a time when the public broadcaster was at "cross roads" where decisions related to adoption of new technologies had to be taken, Prasar Bharati is forced to operate under "extreme constriction", Sircar says in a candid write up.

"Government has delegated its financial powers up to Rs 300 crore to Prasar Bharati, but every tranche of governmental funding comes after several frustrating delays, meanders and dogged pursual," he says.

"With not a single Financial Appraisal Officer in position despite months of efforts, what does financial autonomy matter? The Prasar Bharati Act gives a lot of operational autonomy but Sections 32 or 33 of the Act take away most of these by insisting of the prior approval of government on all critical issues: hence the mess!," he says.

In the write-up, posted on Prasar Bharati website, Sircar shares several insights into the functioning of the public broadcaster. He says that while Prasar Bharati was doing well in terms of viewership and reach which was reflected in television ratings also, there were facets which hindered attempts to modernise its workforce.

"The fact is thus that neither TRP nor large viewership carry much meaning if an organisation cannot be flexible and cannot adopt to latest techniques and professionalism.

"Here, there is no doubt that Prasar Bharati and its two bodies have received a battering. Part of the fault lies definitely in its leadership, or the lack of it, as several people claim quite vociferously. But it also lies in the extreme constriction within which it is forced to operate," he writes.

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