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Prasar Bharati funding row: I&B ministry says national broadcaster not abiding by rules, rejects reports suggesting arm-twisting

New Delhi: Responding to media reports that the Centre is withholding funds to Prasar Bharati since December last year for the latter's alleged defiance to some of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry directives, the government on Friday said that the funds were being withheld as the public broadcaster was not abiding by the rules.

File image of Prasar Bharati CEO Surya Prakash and I&B minister Smriti Irani. AFP/YouTube

File image of Prasar Bharati CEO Surya Prakash and I&B minister Smriti Irani. AFP/YouTube

On Friday, news website The Wire reported that over Prasar Bharati's refusal to pay nearly Rs three crore as fees to a private company, I&B minister Smriti Irani has ordered withholding of funds meant to pay the salaries of Prasar Bharati's employees.

The Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body that functions under the aegis of Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

The ministry termed the report as "sinister, motivated campaign" and said that the "misinformation" was based on "half-baked facts".

"Fiscal prudence and accountability is the very fulcrum of the functioning of any government organisation. Prasar Bharati is as much bound by the General Financial Rules (GFR) of the government of India as any ministry or organisation receiving grants-in-aid from the government," the ministry said.

"As per the provision of GFR, any autonomous organisation receiving grant-in-aid must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ministry, clearly bringing out the physical and financial targets with timelines for activities to be done by utilising the said grant during that financial year.

"For the record, irrespective of repeated reminders from the ministry, no MoU has been signed by Prasar Bharati," it said.

The ministry further added that it remained "committed to protect the interest of all Prasar Bharati employees".

Updated Date: Mar 03, 2018 09:29 AM

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