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Prasar Bharati – India to undertake manpower audit

The government of India has decided to ‘trim’ its public broadcaster, Prasar Bharati, to make it leaner and better equipped to tackle growing competition from private players in the television and radio markets.

To achieve this, Prasar Bharati—under which Doordarshan and All India Radio operate, will be subject to a ‘comprehensive manpower audit’ in line with the recommendations of the Sam Pitroda-led expert committee on Prasar Bharati.

The broadcaster has finalised the terms of reference for the manpower audit and also invited bids for the work through the Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Ltd (BECIL). Sources said once the contract is signed, the audit process will have to be completed within six months, with a mid-term assessment of progress after three months.

The rationalisation is likely to include the winding up of offices located in proximity to each other, the closure of the civil construction wing of All India Radio, a shutdown of the National Academy of Broadcasting and Multimedia (but not its training programmes), and of other Prasar Bharati properties that are impacted by technological obsolescence, among others.

A source close to the decision-making process said, “The Pitroda committee saw that over the years, Prasar Bharati had accumulated a lot of flab that it needed to lose to become more efficient. The public broadcaster had not kept pace with the evolving media industry. On the one hand, while some equipment had become obsolete, some posts too had lost their relevance. Since its inception, Prasar Bharati had also never undertaken a study to assess channel-wise viability. All this has to be addressed in the manpower audit.”