Prasar Bharati Rejects I&B Ministry’s Proposal to Appoint IAS

Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati (PB) has reportedly turned down a proposal by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) to appoint an IAS officer to its board as 'member personnel'.

The ministry intended to appoint an IAS officer to take up charge of all human resource and administrative decisions taken by the autonomous body, reported Times of India.

Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash and some other board members have opined that the appointment of an IAS officer would amount to contempt of Prasar Bharati Act passed by Parliament, the sources told PTI.

The PB refused the appointment, on 15 February, on the grounds of Prasar Bharti Act, 1990, which mandated that the post of ‘member personnel’ should be a full-time post and “cannot be filled by a ministry official.” However, the ministry allegedly wanted PB to make an “exception”.

Besides, it would also be "denigrating" the office of the vice president, who is required under the provision of the act as chairman of the selection committee to make board-level appointments, they added.

The body also deferred its proposal to bring in senior journalists to head the news service units of Doordarshan and All India Radio, reportedly citing autonomy and the salary package offered, reported Hindustan Times.

"The board found that the annual salaries negotiated between these individuals and the ministry — Rs 1 crore for the post of DD News’ head and Rs 75 lakh for PB’s chief editor — were exorbitant and deferred taking a decision on these appointments." - An official to Hindustan Times

Besides, some of the board members, including Prakash, also took objection to the "ministry's directive" regarding the termination of contractual employees of the Prasar Bharati, they said.

The board members expressed concern over the consequences of such a move on the functioning of various services of the broadcaster, the sources said.

The Prasar Bharati Board comprises a chairman, an executive member (CEO), a member finance, a member personnel, six part-time members, a representative of the information and broadcasting ministry and the directors-general of AIR and Doordarshan as ex-officio members.

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