Notwithstanding some bold initiatives taken by Doordarshan in the form of programming and marketing revamp under its new dynamic DG, S.Y. Quraishi, the severe shortage of programme staff is seriously hampering the working of the public broadcaster. The problem is so serious that Doordarshan has prepared an internal note on it for lobbying its case with the Finance Ministry for more staff allocation. According to this note, Doordarshan currently has a shortfall of 1379 operational level programme staffers as the sanctioned strength is mere 2707 against the required strength of 4086 personnels.
There is a shortage of 112 programme officers. Against the required strength of 299 programme officers, the sanctioned strength is only 187.
In the Grade 2 PEX / producer category, the sanctioned strength is only 378 against the required strength of 546, learning a short fall of 168. Similarly, there is a deficit of 181 production assistants as against the required strength of 786, the sanctioned strength is only 605.
There is shortage of 168 transmission executives, with sanctioned strength of 126 falling far short of required strength of 290. The shortfall of 130 personnels in the Video Editor category is almost equivalent to the sanctioned strength of 137 video editors. The short fall of floor managers and floor assistants is 22 and 60 respectively. But the biggest shortage is of cameramen. Against the required strength of 1262 cameramen in grade 1, 2 & 3 the sanctioned strength is only 720, leaving a deficit of 542.
This big mismatch between required strength and sanctioned strength, according to the Doordarshan note, is because of the adoption of Adhoc norms of 2002 instead of SIU norms of 1992. Adhoc norms have failed to take into account the requirements of programme staff at Directorate and Kendra Level for running the various 24 hour channels such as DD Metro, DD World, DD Bharati, DD Sports, Kashir Channel and various regional satellite channels. These channels require programme staff for planning production, acquisition, preview, scheduling, presentation, telecast and monitoring of the service of these programmes as well as for associated managerial duties.
The strength of just 4 officers for the all important commercial wing of Doordarshan has remained static since 80s when DD revenue was only to the order of Rs. 100 crore with just a handful of Kendras and only one channel. The note states that in today's highly competitive scenario, commercial and market wing of Doordarshan need to be strengthened to ensure growth of organisation, particularly as new marketing offices have been set up in Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore by drawing personnel from already depleted staff strength and more marketing offices are in the pipeline.
The irony of the whole situation is that since 90s, while DD kept on increasing its activities, the staff strength kept on decreasing due to economy drive. The result is that today Doordarshan has no staff to man its new Kendras at places like Chandigarh, Sikkim and Hisar. Besides, there is no staff sanction for Raipur and Ranchi Kendras, which are to be upgraded as state capital centres.
The Doordarshan note expresses serious concern over the present situation wherein important areas of promotion, presentation and packaging for drawing and retaining audiences have remained neglected. It warns that if these areas are not strengthened, the survival of Doordarshan will be at stake in the multi-channel era.