On Thursday, the board withdrew the ministry’s proposal to appoint two senior journalists for top jobs under Prasar Bharati.
In an unusual development, Prasar Bharati has turned down proposals of the ministry of information & broadcasting to restructure the public broadcaster, including hires for top editorial jobs and the appointment of a serving IAS officer on the board. The appointment of an IAS officer as member (personnel) was intended to make the person responsible for all human resource and administrative decisions.
While the Prasar Bharati Act states that ‘member personnel’ is a full-time post and cannot be filled by a ministry official, the I&B ministry wanted the board to make an exception. TOI had earlier reported that the ministry plans to restructure PB to make it leaner. Its plans include readjustment of staff, which is also likely to lead to lay-offs.
On Thursday, the board also withdrew the ministry’s proposal to appoint two senior journalists for top jobs under Prasar Bharati. Sources said the proposal was turned down as the compensation packages were much higher than what Prasar Bharati pays contractual staff. The I&B ministry’s proposals were withdrawn as they were seen to be in contravention of the Prasar Bharati Act of 1990 that deems it an autonomous corporation.
“The search committee would like good media professionals to be hired, but the issue is cost,” a source said. Minutes of the meeting also questioned whether Prasar Bharati could, as a public corporation, hire professionals at an annual salary of Rs 1 crore.The ministry, in its directive to Prasar Bharati, had also sought the termination of service of all contractual employees.
Taking strong exception to the tone of the letter, the minutes of the meeting said the directive “sought to question the wisdom of the Prasar Bharati board in regard to these appointments”. Prasar Bharati chairman Surya Prakash and I&B ministry secretary N K Sinha could not be contacted for comment.