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Pilferage in Prasar Bharati; over Rs 1.4K cr emptied every year

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by Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi: Prime Minister Naranedra Modi had even much before assuming office declared an uncompromising combat against corruption. His slogan against corruption ‘Na Khaunga, Na Khane Doonga’ (will never tolerate corruption) was a mega poll-time hit and he could reap a rich electoral dividend.

But a Reality Check describes the squalid status of at least one institution-Prasar Bharati.  A close scrutiny of the accounts of Prasar Bharati can expose the sickening fiscal corruption happening within the public broadcaster, owned, controlled and managed by the government and funded from the public exchequer.

According to a rough estimation, over Rs 1400 crore has been swindled out under the pretext of Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP) Scheme “meant to give financial benefit to the central government civilian employees who are not getting promotions in due time.”

When the nation is confronting a fiscal crisis “the Prasar Bharati bosses are dolling out largesse to their favored subordinates in the form of higher pay,” says a senior serving official of the public broadcaster.   As per a rough calculation the Prasar Bharati is losing over Rs 1400 crore per annum, thanks to the “deliberately erroneous calculations” of those concerned, says another official who has access to the financial accounts of the public broadcaster.    

Detailing the fiscal fraud happening in Prasar Bharati,  a senior official who prefers to remain anonymous said  “when the country is passing through  economic crisis, the public broadcaster  is mindlessly fleecing  million of public money  by  paying hefty amounts as salary to employees of sub-ordinate engineering cadre  under the cover of MACP.  To favor employees of the choice of the higher officials, norms are manipulated and violated.  These employees are given much higher the higher pay scale than what is actually entitled on regular promotion in the hierarchy.”

In fact, the Prasar Bharati and Director General of All lndia Radio had decided to extend the financial upgradation of pay under the Modified Assured Career progression (MACP) scheme introduced by the Government of India for its employees who faces genuine stagnation in promotion.  “But the order from DG AIR has been   consciously misused to benefit their “near and dear” in service, said the official.

The official feels concerned officials of I&B Ministry are also party to this ongoing pecuniary pillage. “The administrative ministry-Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, has not obtained approval of the Ministry of Finance before the Scheme was implemented in the Prasar Bharati. It has a staff strength of over 10,000 in the engineering cadre alone.”  He further added “Express approval of the Ministry of Finance is mandatory as per the guideline issued by the DoPT (Department of Personnel & Training) for the implementation of the MACP Scheme in Prasar Bharati. Authorities in Prasar Bharati, without considering any statutory rules and cadre structure of the engineering wing, allowed huge financial benefit illegally fixing the pay in higher pay scale that is more than the entitlement on regular promotion. If these employees were given regular promotion, they would have been on an entitled scale of pay which is applicable to the promoted post which is lower than what they are getting.”

 The official further elaborated “the authorities including those in the administrative ministry are well updated of all these irregularities and illegal payments.”  No action from the concerned till now and looting of public money continues unimpeded. 

“Due to this exaggerated pay and allowances the public exchequer is becoming poorer by approximately Rs 14OO Cr annually.  It seems the authorities have little pain in draining the public money to favor a few illegally.”

PNI News has in possession relevant documents to prove these charges.  Below given salary chart will explain the size of the ongoing financial loot in the public broadcaster under the pretext of MACP.

In fact,  Prasar Bharati is  surviving on the grant -in- aid  from the government of India . Even for payment of monthly salary to its employees, the public broadcaster has to “beg and borrow” from the public exchequer.    “Sadly this borrowed money is being plundered by the borrowers themselves.”  Though the Prasar Bharati maintains a huge marketing team with hefty pay packages, the net income to the institution is near to nil and the expenditure is swelling regularly with no compassion to the taxpayers money. 

 Such massive corruption cannot happen without “high ranking sponsors” from the Ministry and Prasar Bharati board, believes the official.“We are excited at the Prime Minister’s commitment to contain corruption.  The PM is right in his resolve to  kick out  the corrupt from the system to prevent corruption. We believe Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has waged a war against corruption will never compromise with those who ignore his mission of making India a “corruption free country”. However, I wonder how these officials discount the clarion call of  such a  dedicated, determined Prime Minister?

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