The newly-constituted Group of Ministers (GoM) on Prasar Bharati would take up the long pending issue of financial restructuring of the public broadcaster when it meets for the first time on April 13.
The GoM headed by Home Minister P. Chidambaram was reconstituted on February 10 this year after the previous GoM had ceased to exist at the end of UPA-I tenure.
Financial restructuring would be discussed in the meet, official sources said.
Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body under the aegis of Ministry for Information and Broadcasting and generates revenue through internal accruals and also receives funding from the ministry.
Financial restructuring, the sources said, would allow the public broadcaster to tap the capital market and other financial institutions for generating funds on its own, without relying on government funding.
On several occasions in the past, the government had tried to implement the process of Prasar Bharati’s financial restructuring but without any success, they said.
In fact, even the previous GoM during the first tenure of the UPA government had been asked to consider the matter, but it consistently got postponed, mainly due to concerns raised by employees of the public broadcaster who felt this could hamper their salary structures or perks, the sources said.
Official sources in the ministry said if financial restructuring of the organisation does happen, then it may help the national broadcaster to go public.
Senior ministers in the UPA cabinet including Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Telecom Minister A Raja and Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, are part of the newly-reconstituted GoM.
According to the sources, the GoM is also expected to take up recommendations of the Narayana Murthy Commission, formed more than a decade back.
Headed by N.R. Narayana Murthy, founder-chairman of Infosys Technologies Limited, the committee in the late 1990s had suggested measures for efficient functioning of Prasar Bharati, which are still under government’s consideration.