Rajya Sabha today passed a bill to amend the law governing Prasar Bharati, ensuring that recruitments done between November 1997 and October 2007 will be considered as "deemed deputation" till retirement. The Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Amendment Bill, 2010, passed by voice vote will make the status of employees recruited between November 23, 1997 and October 5, 2007 - they are on deemed deputation to Prasar Bharati till their retirement - absolutely clear and unambiguous. Winding up a discussion on the Bill, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said, "We are bringing the employees under a structure, but decisions in this regard were delayed as employees had moved the Central Administrative Tribunal and the High Court." Even as members during the discussion on the Bill demanded winding up of Prasar Bharati, Soni favoured reviewing the functioning of the public broadcaster, Doordarshan and Akashvani to enable them to compete with other commercial channels. She dispelled fears on closure of DD-Urdu channel, saying, "There is a misconception that it is being shut down. The fact is that we are upgrading it and from 2010 to 2013 a total of Rs 80 crores has been sanctioned for the channel. "The UPA government has also sanctioned Rs 110 crore for strengthening transmission in border areas, especially in Jammu and Kashmir," she said, adding that DD-Kashir is being watched by people in PoK also, thus reflecting its popularity. On the recognition of unions, she said, there is a provision for this in the Department of Personnel and Training. "But for that, they have to fulfil the laid down criterion. It is up to the associations to fulfil this," she said. Earlier, the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting C M Jatua said there are a total of 40,173 sanctioned posts in Prasar Bharati of which 11,498 were vacant and the ministry was in the process of filling these. He said with the amendment of the Act, the status of the employees would be settled.