The ministry of information and broadcasting has released Rs. 617 crore towards the payment of salaries of three months for the employees of Doordarshan and All India Radio, an official aware of the developments said on Tuesday. The salary fund for the employees of AIR and DD, the broadcast arms of Prasar Bharati, has been released after the autonomous body under the ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with the ministry. Autonomous bodies getting grants-in-aid by the government are required to sign a MoU with the concerned ministry. The money will be spent on salaries for the months of April, May and June, an official not wishing to be named said. The decision to release the funds was taken soon after the appointment of secretary Amit Khare on June 1 the MoU was signed in the last week of May, the official said.
The funds for disbursal of salaries were withheld earlier this year over a stand-off between the ministry and the Prasar Bharati board, forcing the broadcaster to pay salaries for the months of January and February from its contingency funds. The ministry, then headed by Smriti Irani, for its part, insisted that the funds meant for salaries were not released since Prasar Bharati had not signed a memorandum of understanding with it, which was necessary as per rules.The ministry in February released Rs. 208 core for salaries after the issue of non- payment of funds escalated.