Updated: March 3, 2021 6:21:30 am
Presiding officers of both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha accepted that Lok Sabha Television (LSTV) and Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV) have been merged into a single ‘Sansad TV’, of which retired IAS officer Ravi Capoor will be the Chief Executive Officer for a year.
The decision was taken in line with the proposals given by a panel headed by former Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash. It was appointed by Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu in consultation with LS speaker Om Birla
The panel, which had consulted some members of Parliament also, had suggested that Parliament should have only one channel, which could be called Sansad TV. The panel had submitted its report in June last year.
While the panel had suggested that Sansad TV could have two platforms to telecast live the proceedings of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha during Sessions, it had proposed that the same platforms — Sansad 1 and Sansad 2 — could broadcast the same programme, in Hindi and English respectively, during the inter-Session period.
However, no decision on this has been taken yet, sources said.
“It is still undecided whether the same programme will be run separately in Hindi and English, or whether Lok Sabha would like to have separate programmes made for their platforms, is not decided yet. There is also a suggestion that only one platform can function in bilingual during the inter-Session period,” an official said.
The panel had suggested that the new channel should capture “various activities beyond the proceedings of the two Houses, including the functioning of committees and development activities of the members in their constituencies”.
But those details are still being worked out, the sources said.
On the need for a merger of the two channels, a committee member said: “There was a need for integrated programmes. It does not look good for Parliament of India to be running two separate channels.”
Welcoming the government’s announcement, Surya Prakash told The Indian Express: “My committee had recommended the merger for better synergy and integration of the two channels. We were asked to examine if the integration was possible, and to look at the modalities.”
The contents of the report, submitted to both Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, are not yet public. Opposition MPs in the Upper House have expressed apprehensions over the merger plans.
TMC MP Derek O’Brien said: “Does it (the merger) help Parliament function as an “institution of accountability”? Will it limit access to live telecasts? Will MPs have limited airtime to raise issues? Will they find new ways to get heard?”
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