The Delhi Legislative Assembly wants a television channel that will highlight the proceedings inside the Assembly, on the lines of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV, though at present, no other state in the country has a separate Assembly channel.
Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel has sought an independent TV channel to be totally owned and run by the Assembly. A letter has been sent to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for licence for the same. Goel has also appealed to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to initiate measures to secure a mechanism wherein every legislature which applies for licence automatically gets it “as a matter of right”. Goel has said, “Since the proposed channels will be on the lines of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV, there should not be any problem in granting licence.” He also sought Mahajan’s help in getting necessary clearances from the Centre in making legislatures “paperless” through the “e-Vidhan project” for which the Delhi Assembly is one of the applicants.
Stressing on the “validity” of an independent television channel for Delhi Assembly, Prasanna Kumar, secretary, Delhi Assembly, said, “It is well within the constitutional framework and I&B Ministry will hopefully grant the permission.”
The letter requesting the licence was sent to the I&B Ministry on 6 November last year and an acknowledgement was received by the secretary on 14 December. However, so far, there has been no further communication on the subject. “We want to implement transparency and ensure accountability by allowing the public to view what really goes on inside the Assembly. Currently, the Assembly is at the mercy of news channels,” Kumar said.
At present, no other state in the country has a separate Assembly channel, but Kumar said, “It is the prerogative of the state Assemblies to decide what they want. The Delhi Assembly has made it clear that they need a channel dedicated towards highlighting the proceedings as well as informing the public about the constitutional machinery.” Though the permission hasn’t been granted yet, the government has put up an advertisement on the website of the Delhi Assembly, inviting applications for the position of “consultant” for television projects.
“We’re looking into possible proposals and are in the process of receiving quotes from various companies. We are sure that our request will be granted. Even if we don’t get a separate channel, we will air the legislative proceedings through internet feeds for the public,” Kumar said. Authorities at the I&B Ministry were unavailable for comment.