The minutes and proceedings of an important board meeting of Prasar Bharti (PB), in which India’s public service broadcaster blocked major proposals that it had received from the Information and Broadcasting ministry (I & B), is still under “process”, despite more than one month of the said meeting that took place on 15 February.
The Sunday Guardian had filed an RTI application with the I&B Ministry seeking the minutes of the meeting, in which, among other things, the proposal to appoint two journalists as advisors in Prasar Bharti, on the direction of the I&B Ministry, was also deliberated upon.
In its reply to the RTI application of The Sunday Guardian, dated 23 March, the CPIO of PB said that the “proceedings of the board meetings are under process”.
In normal practice, the minutes of the meetings are recorded then and there as the meeting takes place rather than “processed” at a later stage.
In the 15 February meeting, the PB board had blocked at least two major proposals from the ministry, including one related to the filling up of the vacancy of Member (Personnel), who is a whole-time member on the PB board, by appointing a serving officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). The other proposal that was forwarded by the ministry was to appoint two journalists as head of DD News and chief editor for Prasar Bharati News Service, respectively.
Both proposals were objected to by the PB board as appointing an IAS officer in the board was seen as an infringement on the rights of the board.
The PB board, led by its chairman A. Surya Prakash, also objected to the “payment proposals” for the two journalists—an estimated Rs 1 crore and Rs 75 lakh per annum, respectively. The remuneration was seen as “too exorbitant” by the board.
The board, in the same meeting, had also said no to the ministry’s demand of terminating the services of some contractual employees.