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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Prasar Bharati gets 1,300 crore government relief

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Friday gave its nod to financial restructuring of state broadcaster Prasar Bharati, waiving off a debt of Rs 1,300 crore. In a major relief, salaries and capital infrastructure costs will be paid by the government to allow the broadcaster to foot its operational costs.The proposal of the I&B ministry was based on the recommendations of the group of ministers (GoM) on Prasar Bharati.

Following this approval, during the next five years from 2012-13 to 2016-17, government non-plan support will be made available to Prasar Bharati for meeting all expenses towards salary and salary-related expenses. All other operating expenses will be borne by Prasar Bharati through its internal earnings that are estimated to be Rs 1,600 crore a year.When asked if the broadcaster would be able to meet its expenses, Prasar Bharati CEO Jawahar Sircar said, "This is a long awaited decision. We now know what Prasar Bharati is expected to do and we have been gearing up for this challenge.''

Accumulated interest on loan-in-perpetuity, interest on capital loan and penal interest thereon payable by the broadcaster to the government will be waived off and will now be converted into grants-in-aid, a statement said. In another major relief, the accumulated arrears of space segment and spectrum charges accrued to the broadcaster up to March 31, 2011, of Rs 1,349.54 crore will be waived off.