Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati could have done much better over the years and there is a need for it to improve relations with the government, says Information and Broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu. “Prasar Bharati could have done much better over the years. When I took a review recently, I was surprised by the range of issues and problems facing the Prasar Bharati. I don’t believe in Prasar Bhharti and the Ministry blaming each other for whatever problems being faced,” Naidu told PTI.
In the past there have often been reports of disagreements between Prasar Bharati and I and B ministry officials on a range of issues. Incumbent CEO Jawahar Sarcar, who is scheduled to demit office on November 4, had written to the government earlier during the UPA regime expressing his differences. “In Prasar Bharati there is a scope for lot of improvement. And there is need for improvement of relations between the government and Prasar Bharati also,” Naidu said.
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He said that the money for the public broadcaster is “after all” given by government, which is accountable to Parliament. Prasar Bharati officials are not going to come and answer questions in Parliament. It is government, Naidu said adding that they have to work smoothly. “But at the same time functional autonomy has to be given to Prasar Bharati,” he emphasised.
Asked about the appointment process for a new CEO, Naidu said the appointment of the CEO is not in the hands of the ministry of his ministry. There is a committee headed by the Vice President of India, while the government only facilitates, he said. He, however, added that Government would certainly like to have a CEO, who could make a difference and provide the desired effective leadership and lead the organisation forward in the intensely competitive media scenario.
Referring to Sircar, who had been appointed during the UPA regime, Naidu said “We (the government) have not forced anybody.” “Even the gentleman who is resigning. He has done on his own. He met me and discussed with me that he wanted to take voluntary retirement. You must be considerate to a person who has worked as a senior bureaucrat for years,” he said.