HC asks Govt. to produce records on 27 November in empanelment case

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked the Government to produce on 27 November the relevant records of the Rural Development ministry pertaining to the scheme of empanelment of over 30 filmmakers to make software publicizing programmes.

The scheme was later scrapped, allegedly without compensating the filmmakers.

Justice A K Sikri and Justice Vipin Sanghvi also asked the petitioner producers to file their rejoinder to the affidavit filed by the Government in reply to the notice issued earlier by the Court. Earlier, the Kolkata High Court had admitted for hearing a similar petition by some other producers.

The Government in its affidavit has denied any empanelment, a fact denied by the petitioners who had earlier received information under the Right to Information Act.

The Rural Development ministry allegedly scrapped a scheme of empanelment of producers almost a year after inviting 30 filmmakers to prepare pilots for publicizing government programmes for rural India with a promise for allotting programmes to them.

The ministry had through an advertisement in major newspapers on 28 August invited applications from various audio/video producers for the empanelment in four categories to highlight the policies and programmes of the ministry. Each applicant was made to pay Rs 5000 as process fee.

The Ministry on 12 October last invited the 33 producers for attending a brief about the policies and programmes of the government in rural development by Vishvanathan and other senior officials.

The producers were asked to submit full-fledged pilot programmes on the seven programmes highlighted during the briefing. The seven programmes were: the prestigious National Rural Employment Guarantee Act; individual loans; group bank loans; water shortage; water conservation; Indira Awaas Yojana; and National Old Age Pension Scheme.

One of the producers who did not want to be named had earlier informed indiantelevision.com that information sought through the RTI Act had also revealed that the media plan had not been given up and some producers were now sought to be picked up through the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity of the Information and Broadcasting ministry to make individual programmes like a monthly video magazine.

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