Kaira discloses massive subsidies given to PTV, PBC
By: Mumtaz Alvi
ISLAMABAD: A sum of Rs1,034 million was given to the Pakistan Television (PTV) in 2008-09 as subsidy and another massive Rs5,648.377 million subsidy in total was provided to the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) during 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Senate has been informed.
“The PTV’s income in 2008-09 was Rs6,156,436,567 while expenditure Rs6,037,488,307, in 2009-10 Rs5,785,612,874 and Rs5,753,098,969, in 2010-11 the income stood at Rs7,305,737,550 and expenditures at Rs7,086,615,221 respectively,” said Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira in a written reply to a question posed by Muhammad Talha Mehmood during the Question-Hour in the Senate in the session prorogued on Friday.
About the subsidy given to the PBC, Kaira said Rs1,720.744 million was given in 2009, Rs1,771.939 million in 2010 and Rs2,155.694 million in the previous year. Moreover, he confirmed Rs192 million as a supplementary grant was also given on account of financial impact after 50 percent ad-hoc relief allowance to the PBC employees and pensioners was announced by the federal government in the 2010-11 budgets.
To a question by Senator Nisar Muhammad, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the House in a written reply that no Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) was given to the Afghan refugees. However, he said 9,981 CNICs issued to Afghan refugees, who were also in possession of Proof of Registration (POR) card, were blocked by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).
The minister said no CNIC had been revoked or cleared against these Afghan refugees. He added a procedure had been adopted to revoke/release these cards on the directions of authorised verifying agencies — Special Branch, IB and other agencies.
Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, in response to a query by Begum Najma Hameed, said the PIA Board of Directors in its 336th meeting approved the Fleet Plan 2010, which envisaged the induction of new aircraft. He said in this regard, PIA had signed an agreement with M/s Boeing Company for the purchase of five Boeing 777-300ER on February 12 this year. These aircraft will be delivered in 2015.
Additionally, the minister said the PIA Board of Directors, in its 341st meeting, decided to induct nine Boeing aircraft on dry lease to improve its efficiency and to conduct the Haj operation in 2012 in an efficient and orderly manner.
To another question, the minister said at present, the entire Pakistan airspace had been provided with surveillance coverage through a dedicated network of six secondary radars installed in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Lakpass, Pasni and Rojhan, facilitating the aircraft with necessary ATC guidance.
The minister continued that moreover Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad airports were also equipped with primary radars for terminal approach guidance. He said there were as many as 39 aircraft in the PIA fleet and their age ranged from five years to 27 years. The oldest planes were Boeing 737-300 and the youngest ATR42-500.
About the USAID-funded programme, the information minister said the PTV was televising a USAID-sponsored programme ‘Sim Sim Hamara’ consisting of four seasons (of 26 episodes of 25 minutes each) on time sale basis. These seasons will be in Urdu and one in other regional languages, including Pushto, Sindhi, Balochi and Punjabi.
The minister noted the PTV televised 26 episodes of 25 minutes each against the amount of Rs6,500,000 on time sale basis and the state-run PTV had received the amount. No employees of PTV were engaged with these programmes.