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Bill passed to reduce Prasar Bharati chairman's term

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has now been given the power to reduce the term of the Chairman of Prasar Bharati from six to three years and a maximum age of 70 and raising the age-limit for the CEO to 65, with the Rajya Sabha giving its approval to the amendment bill in this regard. The CEO's term is also reduced from six to five years, says an report.

The Prasar Bharati (Amendment) Bill 2008 which seeks to replace an ordinance promulgated by the President on 7 February, was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 17.

Some background elements:

I&B minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said in Parliament that the employees of Prasar Bharati would be covered under the Sixth Pay Commission and the government would bring in a Bill to overhaul the set up of the public broadcaster in the latter half of this session.

The Bill, which will now go to the President for her assent before it becomes law, also reduces the term of the CEO to five from the present six stipulated in the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act 1990.

With the avowed aim of ‘injecting sectoral experience to rejuvenate’ in the public service broadcaster, the Bill provides for ‘appointment of comparatively younger talent and experience’. In the parent Act, there was no age limit for the Chairman. Reducing the term of the Chairman will, according to the Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Bill, ‘help to bring diversity of experience at the top level for the benefit of the organisation’.

‘Similarly, a need is also being felt for change in the tenure and upper age limit of CEO from six to five years and from 62 to 65 years respectively.’

The Bill also makes it clear that both the Chairman and the C EO cease to hold office if their appointment is inconsistent with the provisions of the Ordinance.

Thus veteran journalist M V Kamath, who is 86, had to resign before his term came to an end on 9 January, 2009. He had been in the news in January this year when he did not accept the suggestion by CEO Baljit Singh Lalli to induct fellow IAS officers in All Indian Radio and Doordarshan. The Board turned down the move to provide for professionals in radio and TV as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

In January 2003, the Congress party had called Kamath’s appointment as “one more blatant attempt by the National Democratic Alliance government to influence DD and AIR”.

Kamath, who will turn 87 in September, is a senior columnist and commentator on a whole range of national and international issues and an author of over 35 books on diverse subjects such as journalism, travel, history and culture, biography, politics and philosophy.

B S Lalli, 61, took charge as CEO of Prasar Bharati at the end of December 2006. He is an Indian Administrative Service officer of the 1971 batch from the Uttar Pradesh cadre with vast administrative and managerial experience spanning over three decades.

Date posted: March 18, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 379