How would you take a Cameraman holding a SLR and fighting insurgents and terrorists or a Metallurgical Engineer conducting a Heart surgery? Or say a Doctor or an Automobile Engineer asked to lay foundation stones for a bridge on sea …. It is a scene no one would like to dream even.
But Prasar Bharati since it became a Corporation has been foisted with such people whose trainings, aptitude and expertise lay elsewhere but they continue to run an organization that is purely technical with creative productions. Now imagine a Group Captain heading the DD Kisan Channel whose only expertise is to keep giving “Pep Talks” to staff and fill them with War stories – a common practice in the Armed forces. Or someone from Income Tax dealing with Urdu Channel without even knowing the alphabets of language or a Railway Catering chap handling International Telecast Rights …. Or a CEO who is allegedly busy inducting personal friends as Advisors on terms them are not worth and a Member- Personnel who fills the blanks without knowing the imperatives of a Broadcasting unit. Then MOS Rathore too is learnt to have pushed his personal friend as Member- Finance from the MTNL, a much junior and inexperienced person whose knowledge about Media Financing is another big question.
In other words, it is a saga of square pegs in round holes – and they expect wonders out of the system. A CEO who keeps ranting against the In- house expertise and sources confirm that he even “ Advised the new Recruits not to obey and follow Uncles and Aunties in the Department” in an open meeting confirming his detest for the Professionals who forced one of his favourite female Advisors out of office for lack of propriety and knowledge recently.
In a scenario like this could one expect Prasar Bharati to match any competition?
The new Chairman of Prasar Bharati Board is so much obsessed to please the Prime Minister in DD Kisan that he set up his own Experts to select proposals that are now being questioned by Agriculture Experts. He forgot the eminence of Krishi Darshan and Amchi Mati Amche Manas that guided whole lot of Farmers with selected inputs once. He rested his expertise on News Correspondents who are not equipped to handle visual media at all. The fate of DD News with ignorant and inexperienced is example enough to ring the alarm bell.
Studio Productions that should have been encouraged remain under utilized. And some who tried doing recently were asked to outsource material ! This CEO so much averse to the Professionals is not aware that thousands of hours of content was done by these very people that has kept the services on and built the Archives which he is not aware of even. Perhaps he goes sheepish when outsiders call that era as the Golden Phase when there were no bureaucrats tinkering and ruining the system.
Even the Content approved to be made for DD Kisan is shockingly entrusted to people who have no creditable exposure in Public Broadcast system and funds are disbursed on unrealistic market analysis. And if the Ministry decides to curtail or withdraw funds, as said by Col. Rathore, Minister of State it accuses the Prasar Bharati Secretariat that in unnecessarily overflowing with Advisors / OSDs and their vision less planning. Incidentally, professionals have no role here too.
Broadcast Audience Research Council places Doordarshan at 13 out of 15 General Entertainment Channel. DD News is placed at no 8 out of 14 is enough to indicate the sort of leadership CEO and his team providing. The expenses are surmounting from Rs 1608 crores in 2012-13 to Rs 1850 crores in 2014-15. The difference between Revenue and Expenses too is increasing. This was Rs. 470 crores in 2012-13 that rose to 857 crores in 2014-15.
It is strange that while Jawahar Sircar CEO has assumed the role of Media Thinker while another bureaucrat Member- Personnel is towing similar line are stumbling blocks in organization. Should it not cause Alarm Bells when a senior officer who built the Archives left job immediately after Raghu Menon a former Secretary took over as Principal Advisor- Archives? Someone used to taking meetings and just meetings and travelling all over with spouse was all he contributed to Archives! Yet no one ever asked him what he contributed to the shelf. Now the remaining Consultants (former senior Officers from department) who have all contributed enormously in collecting, compiling, material from 1938 onwards are being asked to leave in between …. . So Archives that could have been a face saving and cherished area is coming to death by insipid decisions.
Doordarshan suffers from inadequacies of bureaucrats … it suffers from bottled functional freedom of programming … It suffers from neglect and downright poor and atrocious working conditions for which both the CEO and Member Personnel are squarely responsible. Till then … someone should stop this blame game and let the Ministry assess their abilities truthfully ….