The Information and Broadcasting Ministry's total plan and non-plan budget for 2012-13 has risen marginally to Rs 27.37 billion compared to Rs 26.44 billion last year and the revised estimates of Rs 26.05 billion. The allocation for the Ministry includes an outlay of Rs 935.5 million for projects in the north eastern part of the country including Sikkim. The allocation under the head 'Secretarial-Social Services' has been doubled to Rs 1.27 billion as against the revised estimates for last year of Rs 639.8 million and the 2011-12 allocation of Rs 754.5 million. This will also be spent towards the centenary celebration of Indian cinema, the National Film Heritage Mission, the proposed National Centre for
Animation and Gaming, and anti-piracy activities.
With the government reiterating that it will adhere to the sunset date for switching off analogue, this allocation could help create the infrastructure and also awareness about the benefits of digitisation. The allocation for Press Information Services which includes grants to the Press Council of India has been lowered to Rs 588.9 million from last year's Rs 592.4 million and the revised estimates of Rs 543.4 million, to meet the expenses for the Press Information Bureau, the Press Council of India, and for running the non-aligned countries news pool.
The allocation to the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre has been marginally reduced to Rs 43.8 million from the revised estimates of Rs 42.8 million in 2011-12 (as against the Rs 45 million allocated in the budget last year). The EMMC was set up for monitoring television and radio channels for violation of programme and advertising codes. The allocation for advertising and visual publicity has been raised to Rs 1.66 billion as against the allocation last year of Rs 1.23 million, following the increase in the advertising rates of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity.
Meanwhile, for the third year in a row, the government has not announced any investment in the National Film Development Corporation.The grant-in-aid to Prasar Bharati in the budgetary allocation of the Ministry has been increased to Rs 15.74 billion as against Rs 14.84 billion in 2011-12 and the revised allocation of Rs 15.74 billion. However, there is increase in the Ministry's investment in Prasar Bharati: with Rs 4.01 billion in the plan outlay and an additional Rs 4 billion in the non-plan outlay as against last year's total investment of Rs 3.8 billion which was revised later in the year to Rs 2.76 billion.
Prasar Bharati sources told indiantelevision.com said this had been done to meet the extra expenditure on salaries which has fallen on the shoulders of the Government since all Prasar Bharati employees who were in employment as on 5 October 2007 have been given deemed deputation status. While the grant-in-aid is to cover the gap in resources for meeting revenue expenditure, the investment is to finance the capital expenditure of the pubcaster.
However, despite the reference in his speech to the centenary of Indian cinema, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has announced a drastic cut in the budget for the film sector in the Ministry. The budget for the film sector for 2012-13 is Rs 841.1 million as against the allocation of Rs 1.37 billion and revised estimates of Rs 1.34 billion. There is an additional outlay of Rs 66.7 million towards certification of cinematographic films. [Indiantelevision.com 19/03]
(Jaisakthivel, ADXC, Tirunelveli, www.dxersguide.blogspot.com)