gfiles magazine

September 4, 2014

Autonomy for Prasar Bharati Handicap or alibi?

accountability prasar bharati

It is difficult to accept that greater autonomy is the panacea for the ills of the Prasar Bharati Corporation. Until autonomy and accountability go hand-in-hand, nothing concrete can be achieved
Autonomy has two essential components: strategic and operational. While adopting the Board-managed form of organisation with absolute operational freedom and flexibility in decision-making, the Prasar Bharati Act clearly spells out the strategic areas where the government would exercise, in a limited manner, a degree of influence and control. These areas are, Board-level appointments, provision for directives under Section 23 in specific cases in the interests of sovereignty, unity and integrity of India, power to seek information under Section 24 and the requirement of government approvals in matters of regulation for terms and conditions of service of employees. And, of course, like all public institutions and public service broadcasters (PSB) across the globe, parliamentary accountability is provided for. Within this framework, there are two major areas where, in practical terms, dependence upon the government tends to curtail the freedom and capacity of the Corporation to discharge its obligations and impair its autonomous character. One is the matter of personnel policy and management and the other is the issue of financial support arrangements.

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