Prasar Bharti not abiding by rules: I&B Ministry

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New Delhi, March 2: Responding to media reports that the Centre is withholding funds to Prasar Bharti since December last year for the latters alleged defiance to some of the Information and Brodcasting Ministry directives, the government on Friday said that the funds were being withheld as the public broadcaster was not abiding by the rules.

On Friday, news website ‘The Wire’ reported that over Prasar Bharati’s refusal to pay nearly Rs three crore as fees to a private company, I&B Minister Smriti Irani has ordered withholding of funds meant to pay the salaries of Prasar Bharti’s employees.

The Prasar Bharti is an autonomous body that functions under the aegis of I&B Ministry.

The Ministry termed the reports as “sinister, motivated campaign” and said that the “misinformation” was based on “half baked facts”.

“Fiscal prudence and accountability is the very fulcrum of the functioning of any government organisation. Prasar Bharti is as much bound by the General Financial Rules (GFR) of the government of India as any Ministry or any organisation receiving grants-in-aid from the government,” the Ministry.

“As per the provision of GFR, any autonomous organisation receiving grant-in-aid must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry, clearly bringing out the physical and financial targets with timelines for activities to be done by utilising the said grant during that financial year.

“For the record, irrespective of repeated reminders from the Ministry, no MoU has been signed by Prasar Bharti,” it said.

The Ministry further added that it remained “committed to protect the interest of all Prasar Bharti employees”.