Prasar Bharati launches 2 channels to telecast live Parliament proceedings

MUMBAI: National broadcaster Doordarshan may continue to drain the public exchequer but the launch of new channels "in the public interest" continues unabated. Speaker Somnath Chatterjees prescription to cure one of Indian Parliament's major ailments  the lack of civil behaviour among its members  took shape today with the official launch of two channels, one each for the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and Rajya Sabha (Upper House).

Chatterjee and Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat did the honours today flagging off the two satellite channels that will telecast live the proceedings of both Houses of Parliament. Chatterjee's idea of exposing the honourable members to live telecasts of their actions in Parliament in the hope that it will improve their behaviour will cost the tax payer a reported Rs 1.2 billion annually for each of the channels (this is assuming that that ISRO waives transponder fees).

The function to mark the launch of the two channels was held in the in the Central Hall of Parliament and was attended by, among others, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, information and broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy, Leader of the Opposition LK Advani, and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

The Press Trust of India quoted Reddy as saying the launch of the two channels was both a challenge and opportunity for members as they will now be functioning on camera and not in camera.

The regular and daily telecast of the proceedings would enable millions of people abroad to observe "Indian democracy at work and in action," PTI quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

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