Govt given 6 weeks' time to settle Prasar Bharati staff issue

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New Delhi, Sep 29 (UNI) The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was today given six weeks' time by the Supreme Court to settle the Prasar Bharati employees' issue.

Secretary of the Ministry Sushma Singh appeared in the court and submitted that DoPT rules and Section 11 of the Prasar Bharati Act would be amended to allow continuance of deemed government employess status to the Prasar Bharati staff, an official said.

The Secretary said the Ministry would be going to the Cabinet with the proposal soon.

These decisions were taken at a special meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the restructuring of the Prasar Bharati on September 26.

About 40,000 people working in the public broadcasters have been resisting any change in their status as government employees ever since the Prasar Bharati Corporation came into being as they felt that it would deprive them of many benefits.

The Government had been postponing the settlement of their issue, saying it would be part of the overall restructuring of the Corporation. However, the increasing restlessness among the employees and finally the court's intervention forced it to expedite disposal of the issues.

The official said the GoM also instructed the Ministry to give the employees appointed after the Prasar Bharati Act came into being all the benefits meant for deemed employees.

He said the question of the status of officers of IAS cadre in the coproration was also taken up by the GoM. ''We have been instructed by the Ministry to deliberate upon the subject with the Law Ministry.'' The GoM is also understood to have decided to give an option to employees to stay with the government or come under the Prasar Bharati Corporation.

The GoM is headed by Home Minister Shivraj Patil. It has as its members Minister for Information and Broadcasting Priya Ranjan Das munsi, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni, Law Minister H R Bhardwaj and Communications Minister A Raja.

UNI NAZ PK HT1917

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