The public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has been running into losses for years and it has now attained alarming proportion. In a reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the minister for state of information and broadcasting S Jagathrakshakan told the house that since 2009, the public broadcaster has made losses to the tune of Rs 4,224.55 crore. The minister argued that that the Prasar Bharati being a public-service broadcaster could not be guided by commercial motives, though the government had constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into its functioning.
To bridge the ever-increasing deficit, the GoM, which looked into the financial, employee and administrative issues of Prasar Bharati, made recommendations that the government should extend financial assistance to the Prasar Bharati from non-plan funds to meet its salary-related expenses from 2011-12 to 2015-16. Apart from this the other recommendations of GoM are that the accumulated arrears of space segment and spectrum charges of Prasar Bharati should be waived off up to May 2011. The GoM in its report has also asked that the interests that have been accrued on the loans provided by the government to the Prasar Bharati should be waived off.
In the year 2009-10, Prasar Bharati incurred a cost of Rs 2,682.80 crore, while it earned only Rs 1,176.26 crore, thus earning a loss of Rs 1,506.54 crore. The losses in the subsequent years were Rs 1,236.76 crore in 2010-11 and Rs 1,481.25 crore in 2011-12.