New Delhi: Soon Prasar Bharati board may get more autonomy in financial matters and would be able to make procurement directly if an Information and Broadcasting Ministry proposal is given the go ahead by the Finance Ministry.

Well placed sources said that I and B Minister Ambika Soni had approved the proposal for granting greater financial autonomy to Prasar Bharati and it has been sent to the expenditure section in the Finance Ministry.

Officials said that while Prasar Bharati is an autonomous institution it has to seek permission from the ministry for procurements.

Sources said that due to this reason purchases were getting delayed and it had happened in the past that the Prasar Bharati budget would lapse at a time when vital purchases remained unmade.

Officials say that the service quality and reach of both the Doordarshan and the All India Radio (AIR) had suffered because of the inordinate delays in making purchases.

The Prasar Bharati Board currently has procurement proposals worth Rs 170 crores on its hands, a senior official said.

Citing an example, the official said that the Rajkot super high power transmitter of the AIR was not functioning because of procurement related issues. The reach for the AIR network that this transmitter could extend to was till central asian republic, Russia and Pakistan.

After lying idle for seven years the transmitter is expected to start working by the month end as the Prasar Board that is functioning with a part time CEO and members finally managed to make the procurements, the official said.

Sources say that another major hurdle in making procurements was the limited powers that the DGs of Doordarshan and AIR had. Till 1996, before Prasar Bharati was formed the DGs of both these organisations could sanction purchases worth Rs 20 crore. However this amount was reduced to Rs 1 crore in 1996 and only in 2011 these officers were again given power to approve proposals worth Rs 20 crore.

"The fact is that Rs 20 crore in 1996 and today is not the same thing. A single transmitter may cost up to Rs 50 crore and vital procurements have got delayed all along," a senior official said.

(Agencies)