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Prasar Bharati to lose autonomy? Govt planning to merge it with I&B ministry

The Narendra Modi government is expected to merge public broadcasting agency Prasar Bharati with Information and Broadcast Ministry that would deprive it of autonomy.

The Narendra Modi government is expected to merge public broadcasting agency Prasar Bharati with Information and Broadcast Ministry that would deprive it of autonomy.

This could be announced in the coming Union Budget 2017-18. The government has received a slew of suggestions from nine sectoral groups headed by Centre.

Besides Prasar Bharati, other key autonomous bodies, especially those with similar functions or nature could be targeted like Cotton Corporation of India Ltd, Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India Ltd and Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation, among others, reported The Asian Age.

Prasar Bharti comprises Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio, which were earlier media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The Parliament of India had passed the Prasar Bharati Act to grant autonomy to it in 1990, but it was not enacted until 15 September 1997.

It is said that it’s the expenses being incurred by the autonomous bodies that have become a major cause of concern for the government. Prasar Bharti receives approximately 50% grant from the government for the salary for its huge workforce, which has been appointed by the government in the last 35 years.

As a part of the mid-term review of programmes and projects of each ministry, the PMO sought suggestions from the sectoral groups formed last month to include them in the coming Budget.

Ironically, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address at Ramnath Goenka Awards in early November had said that an emerging global player like India should have its own global media that like BBC and Al Jazeera and present the Indian viewpoint at the world stage.

It is to be noted here that BBC and Al Jazeera both are autonomous bodies working without any interference from their respective governments.

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