New Delhi: The on-going rift between PrasarBharati and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry began with the latter’s infringement on the former’s autonomy, and has now seeped into accounts and financial matters.
According to the latest development, Doordarshan, under the aegis of PrasarBharati, has refused the demands of the National Film Development Cooperation (NFDC) to pay Rs 2.92 crore for a private body’s live-coverage services during the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2017.
This is the second instance of PrasarBharati openly rebuking the orders of Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Earlier, PrasarBharati aggressively defended its autonomy and rejected a range of “directives” from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry that includes rejection of the Ministry’s proposal to hire two senior journalists, SiddharthZarabi and AbhijitMajumdarwith exorbitant compensation packages.
The present issue is related to SOL Productions Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based private firm that has covered the whole event ofIFFI 2017, especially the opening and closing day ceremonies. PrasarBharati claimed there was “no rationale nor any precedent” to outsource the coverage services as Doordarshan has been doing the same for many years in the past and maintained that it was capable with resources even this time.
“DD has the capacity, equipment and staff to do the work. We cover big events like Republic Day and International Yoga Day with more than 40 cameras. The event required only 15 cameras. So there was no need to hire an outside agency to do the work. That’s why the Board was told that it was not justifiable for PrasarBharati to pay for such an activity and this could also invite audit objections,” says a source from PrasarBharati.
The disputed amount of Rs 2.92 crore breaks down into charges for components such as Rs 2.25 crore for live coverage of the ceremonies, Rs 22.5 lakh as NFDC fee and Rs 44.55 lakh as GST.Doordarshan has reportedly been neglecting the ministry governed NFDC’s demands to pay the above-mentioned amount, right from the time the film festival was about to start in November, 2017.