Citizens' Issues
Prasar Bharati exploring legal options against TAM

According to Prasar Bharti, the TAM data completely under-represents terrestrial and rural reach of Doordarshan where the major strength of the public broadcaster lies

 
New Delhi: The Prasar Bharati Board has given its nod in principle to exploring legal options against rating agency Television Audience Measurement (TAM) for allegedly under-representing Doordarshan's viewership, reports PTI.
 
"The Prasar Bharati Board has given in-principle approval to collate facts, seek legal opinion and hold consultations with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on the issue of misrepresentation and under-reporting of data for Doordarshan by TAM," a Prasar Bharati statement said.
 
India's largest public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament and comprises Doordarshan television network and All India Radio which were earlier media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Official sources said the matter concerning TAM ratings was discussed in detail at the Prasar Bharati Board meeting held late in the evening.
 
"The TAM data completely under-represents terrestrial and rural reach of Doordarshan where the major strength of the public broadcaster lies," said Jawhar Sircar, CEO, Prasar Bharati.
 
Official sources told PTI that the Board felt the matter was quite serious in nature and if after further examinations it was felt that defects in the rating system had led to damages, steps should be taken to recover them.
 
The Board's approval comes shortly after New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) sued TAM, a joint venture between Nielsen and Kantar Media Research, over its rating methods in a New York court.
 
In its Board meeting, Prasar Bharati also decided to grant phased approval to commissioned programmes for the DD Urdu channel.
 
Officials said the decision to approve programmes for the Urdu channel was taken at a meeting of the Board chaired by Mrinal Pande.
 
"In the first phase, 100-150 top end applicants covering all the six genres would be granted approval with each being allotted 13 episodes," a statement released here said.
 
"It was a long and complex matter. Besides budget considerations too had to be balanced," said Pande. The list of the approved applicants in the first phase would be posted on Prasar Bharati website next week.
 
Out of a total of 1,046 proposals received for commissioning of Urdu programmes, a total of 579 proposals were shortlisted by the three Committees under the chairmanships of MK Kaw, Shahid Mehndi and Shiv Sharma.
 
"The Board felt that approvals in respect of all these 579 proposals was not feasible, because of the huge expenditure involved but also because of issues relating to quality control, limitations on slotting and maintaining a balance between various categories and genres," a Prasar Bharati statement said.
 
The proposals were shortlisted on minimum benchmark basis, final selection for the first phase of commissioning was on the basis of fund availability and requirements in various genres, as per the fixed point chart during the current financial year, the statement added.
 
The Prasar Bharati Board also gave in principle approval to the long-awaited fee-structure in 26 different categories of non-permanent staff.
 
A monthly financial assistance of Rs10,000 has been approved to CE De Mello, wife of Late Melville De Mello. The lady is about 93 years old and is in an indigent condition, Prasar Bharati said.
 
Melville De Mello had joined AIR in April, 1950 and worked till April, 1971 when he superannuated. Thereafter, he was retained in AIR as producer (Emeritus) for a period of 5 years.
 
He belonged to 'staff artists' category. In 1991, the Ministry of I&B declared artists/staff artists as deemed Government servants with effect from 6 March 1982. As Late De Mello had retired in 1971, he was not covered under these orders, Prasar Bharati said.
 
The Board also approved constitution of a committee headed by Member (Personnel) and comprising as members DG, AIR, DG, Doordarshan, Muzzafar Ali and Prema Cariappa.
 
The committee will work out a fresh scheme of financial assistance to distinguished artists of AIR and Doordarshan who are in indigent condition and are not getting any pension or financial assistance from the Government.
 

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SBI cuts interest rates on NRE/NRO deposits

SBI revised its interest rates on NRE/NRO deposits for tenors of 5 years and above to 8.50% per annum from 7th August 

 
Mumbai: State Bank of India said it has reduced interest rates in non-resident-external (NRE) and non-resident ordinary (NRO) deposits of five years and more maturity, to 8.50%, reports PTI.
 
"The bank has decided to revise downwards the interest rates on NRE/NRO deposits for tenors of 5 years and above to 8.50% per annum with effect from 7th August 2012," it said in a BSE filing.
 

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Wockhardt to repay Rs200 crore in FCCBs; Q1 net profit jumps 95%

Wockhardt recently concluded divestment of its nutrition business to Danone and received Rs1,280 crore, which it plans to use to repay Rs200 crore to its FCCBs holders and exit CDRs

 
Mumbai: City-based Wockhardt, which reported a 95% jump in net profit in the June quarter, said it would repay the remaining Rs200-crore of its outstanding foreign currency debt (FCCBs) within this month itself, reports PTI.
 
The company reported a massive 95% jump in consolidated net profit at Rs378 crore in Q1 of this fiscal, up from Rs194 crore reported in the April-June period the previous fiscal.
 
"We have recently concluded the divestment of our nutrition business to Danone and received Rs1,280 crore. We plan to repay Rs200 crore to our FCCBs holders this month itself and will exit corporate debt restructuring (CDR)," Wockhardt chairman Habil Khorakiwala told reporters here.
 
He said the bond will be paid back with 29% premium.
 
Wockhardt restructured its Rs3,400-crore debt following the global downturn. It subsequently defaulted on FCCBs to the tune of $110 million in 2009, after which, the bondholders dragged it to the Bombay High Court.
 
The company also plans to repay loans worth Rs1,300 crore to banks which it had restructured, Khorakiwala said, adding the company has Rs900 crore cash in hand currently.
 
"The repayments will significantly improve the balance sheet position for the company and our net debt to equity ratio now stands below one," he said.
 
Wockhardt said its sales posted strong growth of 35.3% to Rs1,426 crore during the first June quarter up from Rs1,053 crore, driven by strong sales in the US and European markets, contributing 71% of consolidated revenues.
 
"The growth in bottomline is combination of product portfolio changing and improvement in US business," he added.
 
The EBIDTA stood at Rs502 crore, growing by 61% and represented 10th consecutive quarter of sequential growth, adding in the year-on-year period, it had grown at 35%.
 

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