IIS officers’ as AIR, DD DGs irks programme staff

In defence, Prasar Bharati official says we can no longer operate in traditional silos.

July 16, 2020 11:14 pm | Updated 11:14 pm IST - CHENNAI/NEW DELHI:

The programme staff of Prasar Bharati are agitated over the recent appointment of officials from the Indian Information Service (IIS) as Director Generals of All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD) instead of from the Indian Broadcast Programming Service (IBPS).

The DG charge of both AIR and DD has been given to IIS officers as additional charge. They are already heading the News Divisions of both.

Reliable sources in Doordarshan said so far the seniormost programming officials, who hold the posts of additional DGs (programme), were usually posted as DGs. This has been the well-accepted precedence. But this is the first time IIS officers have been posted to the posts on the programme side, which is contrary to the IBPS rules, the official said.

A programming side official in Tamil Nadu said both the IIS and IBPS were distinct services formed for specific purposes. “The IBPS ideates and creates content for programmes throughout the day. With proper and time-bound promotions, they become station directors. Whereas the IIS makes the news bulletins. They also head the other arms of Prasar Bharati like the Press Information Bureau,” he said.

Promotions denied

“Already the IBPS officers are being denied promotions and only 18% of posts of this cadre have staff. There are innumerable vacancies that in some cases the programme executives report directly to the Additional DG. Posts including those of director, deputy director and additional deputy director are lying vacant due to promotion committees not being convened. There are people who have retired without being given a single promotion,” a senior official on the programming side complained.

N. Tamilvanan, founder-Co convenor, Association of UPSC recruited Programme Officers of AIR and DD, said the Association had sent a legal notice to the DG, (AIR) questioning the appointment of an IIS officer as additional DG (programmes), which is an IBPS cadre post.

“There are instances of persons from BSNL, MTNL and armed services being appointed in posts meant for IBPS personnel — 83 posts have been filled by such persons on deputation. But there is no provision for such deputation appointments,” he said.

“The Board in its wisdom has taken a decision and that decision was endorsed by the ACC. The public broadcaster is in the process of undergoing a transformation to be a modern and competitive media organisation. It can no longer operate in the traditional silos defined based on cadres which is several decades old. Nothing unusual about such a process of transformation. Even the Railways saw such a transformation recently to do away with cadre based silos,’ a senior official at Prasar Bharati said.

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati refused to comment.

(With inputs from our New Delhi correspondent)

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