Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio, will have to use its own funds to pay salaries of employees recruited after October 2007, and also clear pending liabilities amounting to Rs 1,800 crore for the use of radio waves and satellites to broadcast its services, according to an MoU it signed with the I&B Ministry last week.
The ministry released Rs 365 crore to Prasar Bharati after it signed the MoU following months of standoff between the two sides on various contentious issues.
According to the provisions of the MoU, Prasar Bharati will have to incur expenses on payment of salaries to its employees recruited after October 2007 and also pay pending liabilities on account of spectrum and space fees to the departments of telecommunication and space.
A copy of the MoU is with PTI.
The two new clauses are likely to hit the financial condition of Prasar Bharati which was reportedly reluctant to signed the MoU.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry releases an amount of around Rs 200 crore to Prasar Bharati every month and a major share of it goes to payment of salaries of the public broadcaster.
It is not immediately known how many employees were recruited by Prasar Bharati after 2007 and what their monthly wage bill is.
The MoU also has a contentious clause which says that “Prasar Bharati shall Endeavour to augment its productivity and efficiency in its operations and pay its dues to government department/organizations including space segment and spectrum charges to the department of space and department of telecommunications.”
Spectrum refers to a range of radio-waves that are used in communication purpose including to broadcast signals and data. The department of space operates various satellites that are used to receive and transmit broadcast signals for which it charges fees.
A Group of Ministers (GoM) had waived the spectrum and space charges amounting to Rs 1349.54 crore till March 31, 2011 and since then the liability was estimated at Rs 1800 crore.
However, a source in Prasar Bharati said though the public broadcaster has signed the MoU with I and B Ministry, the clause relating to payment of spectrum and space fees to the government departments will be discussed in its next board meeting.
“Then only the future line of action would be decided,” the source said.
Following the signing of the MoU on March 28, the ministry released Rs 365 crore to Prasar Bharati to pay salaries to its employees, the sources said.
The I and B Ministry had earlier released Rs 1989 crore to Prasar Bharati as grants-in-aid for payment of salaries to its employees.
Prasar Bharati has to bear the entire liability of Prasar Bharati employees recruited after October 5, 2007 as per commitments of VI CPC (Central Pay Commission), according to the MoU signed by Prasar Bharati CEO SS Vempati and Rohit Kumar Parmar, Senior Economic Adviser in the ministry.
According to provisions of the MoU, the ministry will only pay 80 percent of the increment component of the salaries of the employees on account of implementation of the 7th CPC.
“Of the incremental amount on account of the VII CPC, the ministry shall bear only 80 percent and the rest shall be borne by Prasar Bharati,” according to the MoU.
In early March, Vempati, in response to media reports, had said that Rs 208 crore released by the public broadcaster towards payment of salaries to its staff on February 28 were from its own reserves.
Vempati’s remarks came two days after news website The Wire carried a news report saying that the public broadcaster had to pay staff salary for January and February out of its contingency funds as the ministry had not released the funds.
Reacting to the news report, the I and B ministry had issued a statement saying that the Prasar Bharati had not signed an MoU as required by autonomous bodies for getting grants-in-aid. - Daily Pioneer