Prasar Bharati Act may be amended, staff to get central benefits

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New Delhi, Oct 5 (UNI) After years of indecision on the status of about 40,000 employees of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, the Government today decided that they would be considered as employees on deputation from the Centre, but would be given all educational, health and housing facilities as enjoyed by the Central staff.

''We will soon go to the Cabinet with the proposal. We have taken some very good decisions today,'' Minister for Information and Broadcasting Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told UNI after a meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Prasar Bharati here.

''If needed, the Prasar Bharati Act will be amended to give effect to these decisions,'' the Minister added.

GoM is headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil. Among other members, Finance Minister P Chidamabram, Minister for Culture Ambika Soni and Minister for Information Technology A Raja attended the GoM meeting.

Mr Dasmunsi said a decision had also been taken to make retired Prasar Bharati employees eligible for pension as admissible to Central government employees and for that, Rule 37-A of the Act would have to be amended.

The Prasar Bharati employees have been agitating ever since the Act came into being in 1990s over the delay on the part of the Government in deciding their status.

They were sent to the Prasar Bharati Corporation on deputation, but were not enjoying the facilities given to the central staff.

Most of them wanted to revert back to the government, fearing that their formal induction into the Coproration would deprive them of many facilities.

Towards the end of the last month, they had intensified their stir and threatened to go on mass casual leave, but had withdrawn their call after an assurance from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that they would continue as employees of the Union government.

Their other demands included the repeal of the Prasar Bharati Act.

UNI

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