Randeep Singh Surjewala, Party chief spokesman, asked why the minister is making Doordarshan and All India Radio employees suffer, withholding their salary for January and February. The party also questioned why her ministry had chosen a private firm over Doordarshan (DD) for the International Film Festival of India in Goa. It also asked why a private firm should be paid Rs 2.92 crore by Prasar Bharti.
He added: "Unbridled, unchecked and uncontrolled whims and anger of Information and Broadcasting Minister Ms Smriti Irani is making DD/AIR employees suffer."
In February, Irani questioned the quality of content that public service broadcaster doles out despite getting Rs 2,500 crore. "Every year, honest taxpayers pay close to Rs 2,500 crore to keep Prasar Bharati alive. But how much do we give back to the taxpayers by enriching the content? This is an issue, I am sure, the CEO of Prasar Bharati will look at," Irani said while addressing a broadcasting sector conference.
Later, Irani issued a clarification that money disbursal to Prasar Bharati was stopped as it refused to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ministry despite repeated reminders. It said the MoU would only enhance transparency and accountability. As per rules, as an autonomous organisation, Prasar Bharti is required to sign the MoU, bringing to fore the physical and financial targets with timelines on activities done utilising the grant during the financial year.