Massive vacancies in AIR & DD: Contracts planned for people with RSS links 

A Recruitment Board and not the UPSC or the SSC has been tasked with the recruitment of professionals in All India Radio and Door Darshan

Massive vacancies in AIR & DD: Contracts planned for people with RSS links 

MY Siddiqui

All India Radio (AIR) and Door Darshan (DD) are facing an acute shortage of manpower. The immediate impact is their growing inability to compete with private electronic media in news broadcast, information, education and entertainment.

Indeed, the two public entities designed to empower people of India with information and opinion and on all round development of the nation are reduced to an instrument of propaganda for the one-man NDA Union Government.

Unlike earlier regimes at the Centre, AIR and DD now focus on one man and his achievements to the exclusion of important national, international and regional news and leaders.

Out of a combined sanctioned strength of 45,791 strong manpower in AIR and DD, there are 21,314 vacancies, which undoubtedly is an alarming situation.

AIR has a total sanctioned staff strength of 26,129, out of which as many as 13,395 posts are vacant. So, AIR is working at less than half the full strength. This strength is after excludling manpower engaged in several regional language news units which have been stopped and a large number of posts in programming, engineering, and administration having been eliminated. Similarly, in DD, out of a sanctioned total staff of 19,662, there are 7,919 vacancies, mostly in programming, administration, and engineering.

A large number of contractual employees with direct or indirect links to the Sangh Parivar currently man news wings of AIR and DD. The number of Indian Information Service (IIS) has gone down sharply though supervisory positions are still manned by the few of them who are still in service.

An official in Prasar Bharati, however, justified large unfilled vacancies on the ground that manpower audit had identified several areas with a mismatch between skills and resources required and the current manpower in AIR and DD.

Mismatch is said to be in sales, marketing, digital/IT, creative and content strategy, corporate strategy and planning segments, revealed the official. The competent source also added that vacancies in AIR and DD are to be filled under Section 9 of the Prasar Bharati Act, for which a Recruitment Board has been set up in terms of the Recruitment Board Rules, 2020 notified by the government in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in February 2020.

Action is afoot to fill massive vacancies by RSS affiliated personnel in different branches of Prasar Bharti under a captive recruitment board, which would have been difficult, if not impossible, had the recruitment been left to the Union Public Service Commission and Staff Selection Commission, both having checks and balances to ensure fair-play and impartiality.

Meanwhile, government is yet to implement the Sam Pitroda Expert Committee Report on review of the institutional framework of Prasar Bharati, its relationship with the government and revitalising the public broadcasters.

The Committee had recommended improvement of PB in 26 areas like governance, organization, funding, human resource, content, technology, archiving, social media, and global outreach. According to official sources, recommendations have been examined, steps for implementation taken on recommendations accepted by the government.

Reasons for undue delay in implementation of Sam Pitroda Committee Report are alluded to action by various Divisions in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, PB, Directorate General AIR, and Directorate General DD, which is time consuming process and still underway.

Earlier, AIR news bulletins, information, and entertainment set benchmark of standards of excellence. BBC often quoted AIR news for credible information, which is no longer the case. Devaluation of standards is due to majority of news persons being contractual employees from Sangh Parivar, who lack the competence and motivation to deliver.

As for AIR’s cousin DD, less said the better. Herein, only emphasis is on one-man government; other matters of importance in all its segments are neglected.

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