Sunday, February 26, 2012

CHALLENGES BEFORE THE NEW CEO OF PRASAR BHARATI

We welcome Shri Jawahar Sirkar, the new Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharati, the Autonomous Public Broadcaster.  Everybody in Prasar Bharati is anxiously awaiting to see how he is going to handle the funds starved Prasar Bharati with 6 to 8 hundred Crores deficit budget annually on one hand  and over-burdened with 30 to 40% surplus staff in Technical wings, eating away the Revenue earnings through salaries and other over heads on the other.  It is quite interesting to note whether he opts to go along with changing technology with lesser staff or to continue with age old and obsolete technology and machinery.  It is not a cake walk for him in the midst of shortage of funds and excess staff and unrest of a section of employees due to wage discrimination.  A bold initiative with strong determination is necessary to strengthen and to make self reliant the Public Broadcaster.  Hope, he will continue the steps initiated by his predecessor to curb wasteful unproductive expenditure and show courage to adopt the changing technology to compete with other media partners while initiating steps to stop the wage discrimination among staff.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"PRESENTATION QUALITIES OF AIR, DD & STAFF RELATED MATTERS ON TOP PRIORITY" JAWAHAR SIRCAR

Improving presentation qualities of Doordarshan and All India Radio and filling up of key vacancies are the top priorities of new Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar, who assumed office on Wednesday. Sircar, who was Secretary, Ministry of Culture, before joining the Prasar Bharati, spoke about his priorities while interacting with reporters here. He said though the news content and reach of Doordarshan and AIR were remarkable, the presentation standards were not up to the mark. "Presentation is an area where we need to give attention ....," he said, adding, "We are high on content and could improve upon presentation of content." Sircar said he needed time to understand why presentation was not up to competitive standards. Another area he would pay attention to was staff-related issues, he said, and asked his colleagues to move ahead in a positive direction "My only appeal to my colleagues is that we have gone through a tough phase and now it is time to look positively," he said. Referring to unfilled posts, he said, "I have been told that there are nearly 14,000 vacancies if you take the original sanction" and added that a task force had re-evaluated the number of critical posts to be filled up immediately.

Source: PTI

Vacancies in DD, AIR to be filled soon…!

The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ms Ambica Soni, today (18/02/2012) said that with the selection of a new Prasar Bharati CEO, vacancies in Doordarshan and All India Radio would be filled and all stations especially those on the border areas will be made functional. “While maintaining the autonomous structure of Prasar Bharati, I want that issues related to staff resolved because they have been pending for a very long time,” Ms Soni told reporters here. She was asked about the priority areas of the new Prasar Bharati CEO. Mr. Jawhar Sircar, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, has been selected by a panel headed by the Vice-President for the position.

“We have recently formed recruitment rules after forming a recruitment board. We now awaiting Dot clearances, so wherever there are slots vacant they should be filled urgently,” Ms Soni said. The Minister said she wants Doordarshan and AIR centers situated in border areas to be made functional. “I also want that all Doordarshan and Akashvani Kendras which are situated on the country’s borders to be activated,” she said. “More programmes should be generated in local languages and Doordarshan and Akashvani should reflect a picture of the entire country,” she said.

Ms Soni also said that though she had not been able to meet Mr. Sircar after he was selected, she had faith in his ability. “I have not yet been able to meet him. Only yesterday there was an announcement and notification regarding his appointment. He is an experienced IAS officer and was the Secretary Culture,” she noted. Asked if the absence of a full time CEO had affected the functioning of Prasar Bharati, the Minister said: “It is time to leave the past and move ahead.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

GRANTING CPC & MACP IN 6500 SCALE TO EX-BCB EMPLOYEES IN AIR

REVISED PROPOSAL ON CONSTITUTION OF RECRUITMENT BOARD IN PB



The Information & Broadcasting Ministry has asserted that it is committed to meet the manpower requirements of Prasar Bharati and said that a revised proposal for constituting a Recruitment Board has been sent to the Department of Expenditure of the Finance Ministry. Enumerating the efforts made by it, the Ministry said in letter to this newspaper  that it had  forwarded the Prasar Bharati proposal, which was received on July 21, 2010, to DoPT for the constitution of a Recruitment Board on February 15 last year. The comments of DoPT on the proposal were received June 7 last year.
The proposal was further processed and referred to the Department of Expenditure on July 14, 2011 and their comments were received on September 28. Following this the Ministry held a series of meetings with Prasar Bharati to formulate responses to the queries of the Department of Expenditure so as to fast track the proposal. A revised proposal has been referred back to the Department of Expenditure on February 7, 2012.”
Regarding the proposal for Recruitment Rules, it was approved by the Prasar Bharati Board in April last year and referred to the Ministry. The proposal was discussed in the Ministry with the Prasar Bharati officials and a revised proposal was referred to DoPT in August 11 and again in September 2011 for approval. In the revised proposal, policy issues having ramification on the career prospects of various categories of employees have been identified and suitable provisions have been made. The proposal has been referred back to DoPT for examination.
To meet the urgent requirements at Prasar Bharati, the Ministry has sought a one time exemption from DoPT to undertake recruitments based on the draft Recruitment Rules once they are approved by it. It also asserted that the Ministry never issued any directive to Prasar Bharati to take employees for various categories from BECIL only as the decision has always been vested with Prasar Bharati.
Source: The Pioneer

TAX EXEMPTION ON HOUSING LOAN MAY BE RAISED TO 3 LAKHS

As per media reports on expected changes in Income tax regulations in the ensuing budget 2012, the present limit of Rs. 1.5 lakh for housing loan interest may be raised to Rs. 3 lakhs.
The Economic Times reports as follows: -
In a bid to boost housing sector credit, the government is contemplating to enhance income tax exemption for up to Rs 3 lakh paid as interest on housing loans in a year, from the existing limit of Rs 1.5 lakh. The government is considering raising the tax deduction limit for housing loan in the coming Budget; sources said The Budget is scheduled to be tabled on March 16. At present, a deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh is available from taxable income towards interest on loan taken for house. Besides, borrowers can enjoy exemption on payment of principal amount. However, it is part of exemption to savings capped at Rs 1 lakh per annum. With the property prices and interest rates rising with each passing year, there is need to revise the limit, sources said. In order to arrest the declining growth rate, the industry associations have demanded raising the tax limit ceiling for the housing loan. According to Ficci Secretary General Rajiv Kumar the exemption should be harmonized with the rising interest rates and increased to at least Rs 2.5 lakh.“We recommended that the existing tax deduction limit on income tax of an individual should be increased from the current level of Rs 2.5 lakh to at least Rs 5 lakh,” CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee. Of this, Rs 3 lakh should be towards interest payment to offset the impact of high interest rates, he said, adding the remaining Rs 2 lakh should be exclusively towards principal loan repayment as the present limit of Rs 1 lakh is already overcrowded with several other items. Echoing views, Assocham and PHD chamber said that exemption limit needs to be raised both for interest and principal. As per the Direct Taxes Code, which would replace the decades old Income Tax Act, there is income tax exemption for up to Rs 1.5 lakh paid as interest on housing loans in a year.

Source: The Economic Times

Friday, February 17, 2012

JAWAHAR SIRCAR AS NEW CEO OF PRASAR BHARATI

Culture Secretary Shri Jawhar Sircar is all set to be appointed the next Chief Executive Officer of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, after a three-member selection panel headed by Vice-President Hamid Ansari is learnt to have recommended his name for the position on Thursday. Sircar is due to retire from his present job next month, and will take over from Acting CEO Rajiv Takru, the Additional Secretary in Information and Broadcasting Ministry who also happens to be the government’s nominee on the Prasar Bharati Board

SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS

Friday, February 10, 2012

INCOME TAX CEILING MAY BE INCREASED TO 3 LAKHS !!


A key Parliamentary committee will adopt tomorrow the crucial report on Direct Taxes Code (DTC) Bill and recommend raising the income tax exemption limit to Rs 3 lakh from Rs 1.8 lakh at present. The Standing Committee on Finance, headed by former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, will discuss the final draft of the report on the DTC Bill during its day-long meeting tomorrow. The Committee is of the opinion that the income tax exemption limit should be Rs 3 lakh. The Bill has the provision of raising the limit to Rs 2 lakh. The committee, according to sources, wants the government to raise the income tax exemption limit in view of the near double-digit inflation which has eroded purchasing power of rupee.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had tabled the DTC Bill in Lok Sabha in August which was referred to the Standing Committee for scrutiny. The draft report, prepared by the Committee, has suggested categorisation of the home and commercial property for the purpose of income tax. The income from these two sources should accorded different tax treatment.

It wants the government to incorporate provisions to prevent misuse of the facilities and tax relief provided to People of Indian Origin (PIOs). The DTC, which seeks to modernise the direct taxation system, will replace the Income Tax Act, 1961.  Although the government is unlikely to introduce the DTC from
April 1, 2012, as planned earlier, it may incorporate some of the provisions of the proposed law in the Budget for 2012-13, to be unveiled on March 16.

Posted by: Paddu
Source: Economic Times

Thursday, February 2, 2012

COMMITTEE HEADED BY VICE-PRESIDENT TO CHOOSE THE NEW CEO

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry set the ball rolling for selecting the new Prasar Bharati CEO by forwarding names of 11 probables to the Vice President who heads the committee that would make the appointment. "We have forwarded around eleven names to the Vice President and it is expected that the committee would sit and choose the most eligible person for the position. The due process is being carried forth," a senior official said. Vice-President Hamid Ansari heads the three-member committee, which includes the Press Council Chief Justice Markandey Katju and the Secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. 
The government has begun the process to select the new CEO for Prasar Bharati after the previous full time CEO B S Lalli's term ended on December 28 last year. Lalli had been suspended after allegations of corruption and at present, Rajiv Takru, an additional secretary rank officer in the I and B Ministry, was made acting CEO of the organisation. 
Source: PTI