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Prasar Bharti receives much needed funds in Interim Budget 2014

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Prasar Bharti receives much needed funds in Interim Budget 2014

Prasar Bharti has been allocated grants-in-aid of Rs 2,331.58 crore in the Interim Budget 2014, as per media reports. This is a marginal increase from the Rs 2,098.56 crore allocated in 2013-14. The Government has made a provision of Rs 200 crore from internal and extra-budgetary resources for Prasar Bharti, while the total plan outlay for broadcasting is Rs 641.58 crore. The funds include allocations of salary and related expenditure of Prasar Bharti employees.

In December last year, the Government finally put in place a plan to set up the Prasar Bharti Recruitment Board to meet the acute manpower shortages that have been plaguing the national broadcaster for years. In a circular passed last year, Prasar Bharti CEO Jawhar Sircar estimated that nearly 15,000 posts in various capacities were vacant.

The broadcaster has also been asking for funds to improve its programming and services. In the Sam Pitroda Committee Report released in January this year, the Committee had advised the Government to give Prasar Bharti more power to hire, while scaling up funds for content generation to 50 per cent in the next five to seven years.

Among the other allocations in the Interim Budget, the allocation towards ‘Secretariat - Social services’ (covering the centenary celebrations of Indian cinema, digitisation of cable television, etc.) has gone up to Rs 129.55 crore, as against the revised estimates of Rs 79.72 crore. Other subjects include the National Film Heritage Mission, anti-piracy measures, promotion of Indian Cinema overseas, production of films and documentaries, and setting up a Centre of Excellence for animation, gaming and visual effects.

This also covers expenses on development of community radio, including development support to the North-Eastern regions, Jammu and Kashmir, and ‘other identified areas’.

The total budget for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been raised to Rs 3,216 crore for 2014-15, as against the revised budget of Rs 2,855.03 crore (against the initial allocation of Rs 3,035.65 crore) for the year 2013-14.

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