New Delhi: The 24x7 television channels of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha are to be merged soon. Only delay is attributed to no agreement yet on who will control the single channel since today the secretariats of the two Houses control their respective channels.
The disclosure of the merger decision was made by Rajya Sabha secretary general Desh Deepak Verma at the 141st meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Belgrade on October 13.
Sources said the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) suggested merger of the two channels, though the initial move was to shut down both and let Doordarshan run a separate channel to cater to Parliament’s coverage.
The PMO pointed out that the viewer rating of both the channels had fallen drastically and a lot of money was wasted on both in providing varied coverage that has nothing to do with the functioning of the two Houses that function hardly for four months on average in a year.
The Lok Sabha TV channel launched in July 2006 was the brainchild of then speaker Somnath Chatterjee who felt people have the right to know the actions of their elected representatives fully instead of the TV channels providing only glimpses of skirmishes in the House.
Then Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari got a parallel Rajya Sabha channel started in August 2011.
Though both the Houses function from the Parliament Houses, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha has separate secretariats and own staff. The debate on control of the merged TV channel has also triggered a parallel debate on why the two Houses have separate staff.