Prasar Bharati to overhaul workforce

Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is set to overhaul its workforce, a long-pending exercise that was recommended by the Sam Pitroda Committee in early 2014. The last time the Prasar Bharati hired was in 1996.

The decision was taken by Prasar Bharati Board in a meeting on Monday. The state broadcaster has hired Ernst and Young to conduct a manpower audit. The exercise is expected to be completed in eight months’ time.

Announcing the move, Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer Shashi Shekhar Vempati in a tweet said, “The 151st Board Meeting of Prasar Bharati held earlier in the week was one of the most productive meetings on the wide range of issues on which decisions were taken. An important and long pending decision was on the manpower audit recommended by Sam Pitroda Committee.”

According to the Sam Pitroda report, Prasar Bharati reportedly had 33,800 employees and the sanctioned strength was 48,022 — the highest in the world for a public broadcaster. While the BBC had staff strength of 16,858, public broadcasters of Japan and China employed 10,000 each.

Doordarshan currently operates 23 television channels and a free-to-air direct-to-home platform. The AIR has 420 radio stations, including FM channels, local radio stations, Vividh Bharati stations and five community radio stations.

The Sam Pitroda Committee was constituted by UPA-II and it submitted its recommendationsto the government in January 2014. It had recommended a comprehensive manpower audit to map Prasar Bharati’s staff requirement while noting that it has a workforce which is much bigger in size as compared to public broadcasters in other countries.

Mr. Vempati told The Hindu that the task is to essentially identify redundant roles and make the organisation IT-enabled. “There is a lot of scope for automation. The audit is to identify these gaps and re-orient many of the roles,” he said.

He denied that the exercise was aimed at retrenchment. “We have an ageing workforce and in next five-nine years a sizeable portion of our employees will retire. Also, we already have a huge gap between the sanctioned force and available strength, so the audit does not necessarily mean retrenchments,” he added.

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