Prasar Bharati Act does not bar appointment of IAS officers to its board: Minister

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NEW DELHI: The Prasar Bharati Act does not bar the appointment of IAS officers as member (personnel) on the public broadcaster’s board, Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore informed Parliament on Thursday.
He was responding in the Lok Sabha to a query on whether the ministry of information and broadcasting had proposed the appointment of an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer as full-time member (personnel) on Prasar Bharati Board in violation of its Act.
Media reports, quoting sources, had claimed that the Prasar Bharati board in its meeting on February 15 dropped the ministry’s proposal for appointment of IAS officer as member (personnel) as some of the board members felt that such appointments would amount to “contempt of the Prasar Bharati Act.”
“As per the Prasar Bharati ((Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act, 1990, member (personnel) shall be a person having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of personnel management and administration. The Act does not bar IAS officers from being appointed as member (personnel) on the Prasar Bharati Board. In the past, such officers have been appointed as member (personnel),” minister of state for information and broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said in a written reply in the Lower House.
He said the appointment of any member on the Prasar Bharati Board was made by the president on the recommendation of a committee consisting of vice president, chairman of the Press Council of India and one nominee of the president.
The information and broadcasting ministry is the nodal ministry for the Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR).
To another query on whether the government had proposed to terminate the services of all contractual employees of the Prasar Bharati, Rathore said, “There is no such proposal by the government.”
However, he said after receiving a complaint alleging engagement of consultants in Prasar Bharati without assessment of need, formal approval or selection by transparent manner with reference to a set of qualification, skills and experience, the I&B ministry had on February 5 suggested the national broadcaster to “stop such engagements as also not to grant extension/renewal to consultants, as it contravenes the order of Department of Expenditure and to discontinue contracts of other consultants.”
Media reports had also stated that the board members of Prasad Bharti during the February 15 meeting took objection to the I&B ministry’s directive regarding termination of contractual employees of the national broadcaster.