MIB passes order for PIB to follow Standard Operating Procedure
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has announced Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be followed by all PIB officers with regard to Circulation Verification-reg.
On 14th October 2022, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting sent a notification to the Office of Registrar of Newspaper for India regarding MIB. Order No. M-25013/gg/2016-MUC dated 14th July 2016, RNI's subsequent office order No. 613/CV/1/14-15-Circulation (Pt) dated 14th June 2017, and MIB Order No. M-25013/1"4/20t5- MUC dated 0L.09.2017 by which the powers to carry out the entire work related to Circulation Verification of publications have been delegated to various PIB officers, who have been designated Additional Press Registrar, Deputy Press Registrar, and Assistant Press Registrar as the case may be, for the purpose of performing the functions as may be assigned to them, by the Press Registrar, under PRB Act, 1867, under the general superintendence and control of the Press Registrar. A set of detailed guidelines to carry out the circulation verification has already been circulated and is also available on RNI's website.
ln order to achieve greater coordination and ensure a more effective, accountable, and transparent mechanism of circulation verification, it has been decided that the following procedure will strictly be followed by the verification team. The verification of circulation has to be done either on request or complaint basis barring the exceptional situation wherein if the ADG (R) is reasonably convinced based on primary information that the circulation of any publication has drastically come down due to some specific situation wherein the ADG (R) can initiate the circulation verification process suo moto. ln the case of complaint and suo moto verification, the ADG (R) will take prior approval of the Press Registrar. PR is statutorily mandated to have overall supervision & superintendence on the CV processes in the entire country.
The following guidelines will supersede the earlier ones if there is anything found contrary.
- Acceptance of Application:
- i) The application will be accepted after due scrutiny by an empanelled Chartered Accountant. An application completed in all respects (as Annexure A) would be accepted and an acknowledgment slip with the date and time will be issued to the publisher.
- ii) No new circulation verification request will be accepted in the month ofMarch, April, and May and no circulation verification will be carried out during the month of April and May.
iii) For circulation verifications from 1't June onwards the facts and figures ofonly the last (preceding) financial year will be accepted for consideration.
- iv) The Regional and branch offices should ensure that all verifications may be completed within 45 days of receipt of the complete and correct documents. All verifications may be done on a first come first serve basis with prior intimation to the Press Registrar.
- v) The publishers are required to file their fresh CV request at least 60 days prior to the expiry date of the existing circulation verification certificate issued by PlB.
- i) After accepting the verification request, an office order by an ADG (R) will be issued (as per Annexure B) constituting the team in not more than a week. The team leader will be an officer of PIB/CBC serving at the level of Addl. PR (ADG)/ Deputy PR (Director)/ Asstt. PR (Deputy Director).
ii) The assignment to the empanelled CAs having head/branch office in the respective region has to be given strictly on a rotational basis. If any CA is not available/willing to take up the assignment, a written denial will be obtained from him and in such cases, this CA will not be considered even for the next cycle of rotation. The member CA will give an undertaking to the team leader (as per Annexure C) before concluding the verification exercise.
iii) ln case of inevitability because of the non-availability of empanelled CA/CA firm in the state, the ADG(R) can take services of the CA from a neighbouring state under intimation to the ADG(R) of that state.
- iv) If the completed application remains unattended for 15 days or more by the regional PIB office, the publisher is free to submit an application for circulation verification at RNI HQ. RNI HQ will constitute a circulation verification team picking up the eligible officer from that region/nearby region and empanelled CA. ln such cases also the concerned ADG (R) will be the overall supervisory and certificate issuing authority.
- v) The RNI team will follow the detailed SOP of Circulation Verification guidelines to conclude the actual circulation figures(The modus operandi of auditing aspects to conclude final figures is not dealt with here). The spot visit will be to confirm the veracity of the publisher's claims made for the previous financial year for which the circulation verification is being done. Anything observed found contrary to the claims will be duly recorded and effected in the calculation of the final circulation figures.
- vi) The team leader and the CA has to remain present (to be video graphed) during the spot visit and the market survey.
vii) lf so felt the need by the ADG (R), it is desirable that he himself makes a surprise visit to the printing press and get the actual numbers of hard copies counted (maybe video graphed)
viii) During the course of circulation verification if there is a bonafide complaint against the CA by the RNI team leader/publisher then ADG (R) will reconstitute the team with prior approval from RNI HQ. ln case of receiving such a complaint in RNI HQ, PR may ask the ADC (R) to reconstitute the team.
- ix) ln case the publisher doesn't cooperate with the CA in providing the essential documents, after issuing a written notice giving him a week's time to submit the documents the CA will be free to arrive at a concluding figure based on the available documents. RNI team leader will then apply due diligence to arrive at a justifiable circulation figure,
- x) The publisher will be free to withdraw his request application for circulation verification at any point in time. However in that case his fresh request for the same edition will not be entertained in the region for the next two years.
- xi) lt is desirable that after accepting the application the certificate is issued in not more than 45 days(RNlteam should not take more than 20 days for concluding the report after team constitution)
- Releasing the Certificate.
- i) The certificate has to be signed and released by the ADG (R) only (in existing standard format) after filing ADG's report as per Annexure D.
- ii) On getting the complete report in the form of Annexure I to lV, after due scrutiny the ADG (R) will process the conclusion of the verification exercise.
iii) An affidavit from the publisher will be obtained before issuing the certificate (as per Annexure E).
- iv) The certificate copy along with the complete verification report
(Annexures Ito lV & D, E) will be sent to PR, RNI HQwithin a week.
- v) For the Delhi-NCR region, ADG nominated by PDG, PIB HQ will be in charge of RNI work.
- Appeal for re-verification.
- i) Additional Press Registrar deputed by the Press Registrar will undertake the responsibility of redressal of Appeal. After providing a reasonable opportunity of being heard by the applicant publisher, the PR will accept the Appeal for re-verification or reject it.
- ii) The PR, as an appellate authority, will constitute an RNI team for circulation re-verification by picking up eligible officers from the corresponding regions along with an empanelled CA.
iii) The appeal has to be made within 30 days from the issuance of the circulation verification certificate.
- iv) The re-verification certificate will be issued upon approval from the PR.
'Annexure A - List of 13 documents
Annexure B - Circulation verification order
Annexure C - CA's certificate
Annexwe D - Certification by ADG (R)
Annexure E - An affidavit from the publisher