DD, AIR staff to work in PIB too

February 24, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 05:19 am IST - New Delhi

Redeployment in Ministries will cause conflict of interest, say officials

Vector self employment concept in trendy flat linear style - multitasking freelancer - man working on different projects from his home office - jack of all trades concept

Vector self employment concept in trendy flat linear style - multitasking freelancer - man working on different projects from his home office - jack of all trades concept

In an unprecedented order on Thursday night, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry posted 15 officials from Doordarshan and 16 from All India Radio (AIR) as publicity officers for various Ministries.

The attempt is to strengthen the government’s severely short-staffed publicity arm, the Press Information Bureau (PIB), say senior officials of the I&B Ministry.

However, the latest reshuffle of the 31 Indian Information Service (IIS) officers from the state broadcasters is likely to lead to confusion and a conflict of interest, sources said.

Autonomy issue

The officers’ primary charge will be to handle the publicity of the Ministries. They will, however, additionally continue their work in Doordarshan and AIR.

“An employee of the DD and AIR has to be [a] member of Prasar Bharati. How can they have dual loyalties? There is a clear conflict of interest of being part of an autonomous corporation as well as doing the government’s bidding. It is another example of contempt for Prasar Bharati Act by bureaucrats of the I&B Ministry,” a senior Doordarshan officialsaid requesting anonymity.

Sources said Director-General, Doordarshan, Supriya Sahu, during a meeting on Friday, told the officials concerned that “some sort of system will be worked out”.

“We were told that a schedule would be prepared to work a few hours in DD and the remaining as publicity officials,” one of the officials at the meeting said.

Prasar Bharati officials say the issue has not yet been discussed.

Its Chief Executive Officer, Shashi Shekhar Vempati, did not respond to questions from The Hindu .


The IIS officials say that more than a conflict of interest, the order is not workable.

“The nature of jobs are very different. Both DD and AIR follow a 24X7 cycle and a publicity official’s job can be equally tricky — he has to be available at the beck and call of the Minister whenever required. How can the person be simultaneously available at two places,” a senior IIS official said.

Union Minister Smriti Irani took charge of the I&B Ministry last July.

The reason for such a mass reshuffle of the IIS officials, according to few PIB officials, can be traced to an event last October, when Doordarshan missed reporting the upgrade of India’s position in the ease of doing business rankings of the World Bank.

Shortage of hands

Ms. Irani called for a meeting of all publicity officials and pulled them up for not alerting the public broadcaster.

The publicity officials, in turn, told her of the severe manpower shortage in the PIB. To this, Ms. Irani is said to have promised to strengthen the ranks of the PIB.

Recently, the association of IIS officers wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office, drawing attention to mass transfers, which they alleged have been carried out in contravention of rules.

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