Random Thoughts
D Dhanuraj
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Debate or no debate, our MPs know the art of walk outs whenever they are on the fringes of history making: be it on nuclear deal or Women's reservation Bill. Articles after articles are written about this subject and the effort to sensitise the mass by having a Lok Sabha channel which has not made any substantial change on the floor. Whether it is in J&K assembly or in UP assembly, it matched with Ekta Kapoor's highly rated Soap Operas most of the times! Unfortunately, TRP rating of Lok Sabha channel does not appear on every weekend as in the case of other channels. Public exchequer and the general public have to bear the brunt of actors selected by Biggest Poll Exercise in the world!

Now look at a different scenario; Reserve Bank of India announces the quarterly bank rates. Discussion and debates precede and follow the announcement. Compare it with the scenario a couple of decades ago. No one would have heard about Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) and Reverse Repo Rate. Thanks to the growing media and emerging market, the majority middle class in this country started discussing these stories over dinner tables. Is it an indicator of inclusive debate while our own representatives walk out during discussions? Same is the case with the term 'dossier' in the recent times, most repeated during 9 p.m. news headline. Whether it is Indian Dossier or of Pakistan, Rs. 65000 crores spent on school education in this country would not have taught this phrase with such tremendous recall!

What does it mean? The fourth estate does a better job offering more debates and discussions compared to the parliamentary debates that ideally should happen? With due respect to the democratic processes and its sanctum sanctorum, Lok Sabha Channel reflects the service delivery operations and beliefs running through the administrators and elected representatives in this country; There are other TV channels in the UK, US, Australia and other places that are dedicated to broadcasting what happens within the legislative assemblies. But none of them are actually directly attached to Parliament itself as in the case of India. No matter what is the outcome of this channel, the interesting question here hovers around the service delivery of Members of Parliament if it is put it in a crude sense. What we understand is that for covering the walk outs, we have a Lok Sabha channel!!

Metro Mishaps in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore should raise the same number of questions, but why is that only DMRC gets the maximum amount of brickbats? Why not other companies? What "whip" and logic forbid the parliamentarians to engage with opposition parties? More information will lead to transparency as often stated. Even private airline companies have started for financial bail outs, but who will bail out the parliament? Can they work on similar set of standards that are set for the other institutions? Why not better transparency to our city municipal administration then? Lok Sabha channel is surely not the solution to increase transparency in dealings of the Government.

D Dhanuraj is the Chairman, Centre for Public Policy Research, Kochi, India

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