Based on a benchmarking train that in contrast it with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Prasar Bharati has concluded that it must sharply reorient itself, lowering technical employees, and including content material muscle, individuals accustomed to the matter mentioned on situation of anonymity, speaking in regards to the restructuring plan of the general public broadcaster that runs each Doordarshan and All India Radio.

The plan, which has been within the works for 3 years, is presently into consideration.

The current course of for change was initiated in 2018, when Prasar Bharati started a manpower audit. The audit was outsourced to Ernst and Young, which instructed alterations. The findings had been accomplished in February. They present that almost half the organisation’s 25,000 staff are employed within the engineering division, whereas the corresponding power for BBC is at a bit of over 10%. The content material crew at Prasar Bharti contains lower than 20% of the workforce, whereas BBC’s content material crew accounts for 70%. Manpower prices account for over 60% of Prasar Bharati’s bills, and simply round 30% of BBC’s. To make certain, BBC earns important income every year from licensing — all TV house owners pay a license price yearly that funds the organisation.

Prasar Bharati additionally plans to organically downsize, with almost half of its staff retiring within the subsequent 5 years. Less than 10% of the service’s staff are between the age of 31-40, lower than 5% between 20-30, whereas over 60% are over 50.

The service can also introduce a voluntary retirement scheme, on the identical mannequin because the one presently working in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), HT learns. The VRS scheme will present applicable compensation to staff over the age of 50 that select to retire. It can also be contemplating a class of contractual staff. The VRS may scale back the organisation’s annual money outflow by over 2,000 crore, based on the plan.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting declined to touch upon the matter.

“The manpower audit is a long pending exercise… It is to look at how we can transform public broadcasting on various fronts. We are consulting several stakeholders,” mentioned Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati.

Prasar Bharati has already launched adjustments to extend effectivity in broadcasting, comparable to cloud-based broadcasts and distant monitoring. In phrases of operations, it has additionally shifted to digital platforms.

Changes to the Parliamentary Act, underneath which the physique has been created, are additionally being thought-about, the individuals mentioned. “There are organisational issues,” one of many individuals cited above mentioned. “There, of course, is a public mandate. But at the same time, there have to be commercial expectations as well. There is a low viewership and that can only change if the content side is revamped.”

This individual added that higher asset utilisation stays a precedence. “Earlier, Prasar Bharati needed a stronger engineering department. But now it has to focus more on content.”

Former I&B minister Manish Tewari mentioned that the elemental factor that must be decided is whether or not India requires a public broadcaster. “The Prasar Bharati Act was brought into existence in 1990, but was implemented, that too partially, only in 1997. The Act came into existence in the backdrop of the government having monopoly over Doordarshan and AIR.

Prasar Bharati does not enjoy the same kind of autonomy that BBC does. So long as its funds are released by the I&B ministry, it can’t. What the government needs to do is set up a committee of experts familiar with the functioning of Prasar Bharati instead of looking at piecemeal solutions,” he mentioned.

Former Editor of the media website The Hoot, Sevanti Ninan mentioned Prasar Bharati has historically been a terrestrial broadcaster, which is why engineers had been wanted to keep up a national community of terrestrial towers. “The whole engineering network has now become largely redundant,” she mentioned. She added that the general public broadcaster just isn’t recognized for the standard of its content material. “It’s never gone past being a government broadcaster,” Ninan mentioned. Prasar Bharati CEO Vempati mentioned, “What we are aspiring to create is public broadcaster of the future… we want to transform the broadcaster on both, the content and technological front.”


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