Sir, when Shri Jaipal Reddy was there in the Rajya Sabha, he used to be very active and some of my colleagues, who are sitting on the other side now, like Shri Pramod Mahajan and Shrimati Sushma Swaraj used to raise the question of autonomy. At that time, there was an order, a direction from the Chair of Dr. Najma Heptulla that Doordarshan and Akashvani should be freed from the controls of the Government because technology had made irrelevant any law or any control or any regulation.

In 1990, there was a combined wisdom of this Parliament. It was unanimously decided at that time that we must have a Prasar Bharati Board which should be free from Governmental and bureaucratic control. But what it requires is also functional autonomy by the people who are running it.

Today, probably 136 satellite channels are beaming into India. If Doordarshan, Akashvani and Prasar Bharati have to be relevant in Indian conditions and face the competition as a result of liberalisation, then they should have professionals. Along with autonomy and professionalism, it requires accountability and responsibility to Parliament. There are no two opinions about it.

I recall that Dr. Manmohan Singh, as the Finance Minister, threatened that he would not give a single paise to Information and Broadcasting Ministry, and that Doordarshan and Akashvani must generate its own revenue. Therefore, Doordarshan and Akashvani were innovative and they were about to get Rs. 1,000 crore. Their operating expenses at that time was Rs. 624 crore. I am talking about five years back. At that time, their income was Rs. 500 crore. But when this move was made and today when they were about to be self-sufficient, then we found the upheavals of the Prasar Bharati Board running into trouble with the Government and with various other things. So, I would like to pose a question to hon. Minister. I feel that he has an open mind. The Prasar Bharati Board should be strengthened rather than be weakened. It should be strengthened by the professional people. In fact, we have been following a pattern here that some one who is an expert in health, does not become the Health Minister; some one who is an expert in defence, does not become the Defence Minister so that objectivity comes and not subjectivity. In fact, we had one of the finest engineers here who became a Minister of his Department but unfortunately, the Ministry did not function as well because subjectivity went in and objectivity was sacrificied at the alter. Therefore, professionalism and autonomy along with accountability and responsibility to Parliament are important because ours is a Parliamentary democracy.

Sir, without accountability, we will be facing criticisms. Criticisms are nothing new. When people sit on this side, they have a different point of view. When they go to the other side, they have a different point of view. We have been at the receiving end sometimes when we sit there and when we come to this side, we hear different voices from that side. Therefore, there will be a crciticism about the credibility of Doordarshan and Akashvani as compared to BBC. In fact, there are any number of certificates by international agencies, where they have praised Doordarshan and Akashvani in the highest of terms, whether it was sports, whether it was the burning of Charar-e-Sharief, whether it was the Asian Games or whether it was the live telecast of any other event. Therefore, such a fine organisation requires the support of the Parliament. Then only, it can function in today's technological revolution.

We have missed the Industrial Revolution. Let us not miss out the Information Revolution. For that, we have to give them full autonomy, free from the control of Parliament, both the Government and bureaucracy but they must be accountable. After all, ours is a Parliamentary democracy. We are all accountable to the people. So, this organisation, where the national resource of about Rs. 60,000 crore has been pumped in over the last fifty years, must be accountable to Parliament, must be responsible to Parliament but they must have full functional autonomy without any hindrance or without any interference from any politician or any bureaucrat because we are not experts.

ʶn + (+ɮ) : ɦ{i ɽn, +{E FMVɮ E +{x Z |ɺɮ ɮi E Ex {ɮ x E E ֽ E* nxɪ E iɮJ Mɴɽ *

nxɪ Vix bE]] B, =xx ɤɺ {ɽ ɽ Eʶɶ E E =xE l b x SʽB, =xE l b + ]ʴVx x SʽB* +V nxɪ E +n ɽi VMɽ {ɮ E x E ڮi bE]]ʶ{ Vn * Vx n < iɮ E ʺɺ] , ɽ {ɮ Sɽ ɽ ]ʴVx b , ɽ ɮEɮ E +vx , bE]] E +vx * V Sɽi ɽ ]ʴVx + b +i *

Z + E l Ex {ci < n E +n V {] <vɮ `i (ʴ{I ) i nڮnx + + <b b E +]x E i Ei , Vɤ ɽ {] =vɮ (ɮEɮ )Sɱ Vi i = ɽ ɽں i E +Mɮ nڮnx + + <b b ij E nB i ɮ ʱB nֶʮ Jc VBM* ɽ E< x< i xɽ * < n E +n BE {ʮɮ 38-40 ɱ iE Miɮ V * ɽ <ʱB E M +SU iɮ Vxi l E b E E iɮ <iɱ Ex SʽB, b + ].. E E iɮ <iɱ Ex SʽB* <ɺ c SS< E< + xɽ Ei*

|Eɶ Vɪɺɴɱ (Ex{֮): ɽ Mɱi i *

ʶn +ɴ : +{ x E nVB E 38 ɱ iE BE {ʮɮ E V xɽ *

|Eɶ Vɪɺɴɱ : Ex =xE Vɽ B i , ɽ +ɮ{ xɽ Mx SʽB*

ʶn +ɴ : SE ɨɪ E <ʱB Vn ɨɪ xɽ x Sɽi, Ex =xE ɨɪ B + E nڮnx + b < n E xɽ Mi l, < {ʮɮ E Mi l* < n E |vx j xɮʺƽ ɴ V l* = ɨɪ V ɮEɮ E iɮ ʴY{x +i l, B i l V EO E ʴY{x * < n E +n B Mi l, Vɤ =xE ɮEɮ l, E ƺ x E +Jiɪɮ |vx j V x n J * ɽ i xɽ Ex Sɽi l, Ex +{ Jc E Eɱi E l <ʱB E * iV֤ E V {] ʴɮv i , ɽ Sɽi E ].. + b ij x SʽB* Vɤ ɽ ɮEɮ Sɱ Vi i Ei E <E +]x ʨɱx SʽB*

ɽ Vxɤ J E ɺɡ +VҤ ɮ Vɽ

V ɽ {> i ɨ , V ɽ {> i ɱ *

ɽ {ɮ nںɮ +nV ʡF , ɽ {ɮ nںɮ +nV ʡF * SɽM E V +V E |ɺɮ ɮi , +h V] V ɮ {֮x ʨj , =xx EU ɱ {ɽ Eɱi ְ E l, EE Vɤ x V<x E i Eɱi E l, =xE <VVi Ei , Ex +{E vɨ =xɺ nJ E l Ex Sɽi E +V nڮnx E +n +ɨ Vxi E ɽ ʴɶɺ xɽ , V x SʽB* ɽ i E V E ... E l E{ɮ xɽ Ex SʽB* + BE ni x E E ɽi ɮ +iɮɹ]Ҫ |ɨh {j nڮnx E ʨɱ , ֨Ex E ʨɱ M, =ɨ xɽ Vx Sɽi, Ex +ɨ Vxi nڮnx E ɮ E Si , ... E ɮ E Si , ɽ vx nx E i * +V +ɨ +n ... {ɮ Vn ɮ Ei , nڮnx {ɮ E Ei * Z ɡ EM, nڮnx + + <b b ɽ ɤ EU +x=ƺ i V +V E ɮEɮ Sɽi * x E Jɤɮ ɽ xɽ x + nڮnx {ɮ ɽ xɽ nJ x E ɤɮ ʺVn Mɮ M<, ɽ x E ɽ {ɮ BE fS l, VɺE Ji E n Mɪ* ɽ BE S-ɨZ Vɶ * =E iɽi nڮnx + + <b b +V Eɨ E * Ex Sɽi E < ʺɱʺɱ BE Eɨ|ɽʺɴ ʤɱ +x SʽB* =ɨ x ʺɡ ɽ E |ɺɮ ɮi iji Eɨ E, ʱE ɽ ɽi Vɰ E < n E V iɽVҤ + iɨnx , =E <x]E J* +V < n E +n V Jiʱɡ Sxɱ Eɨ E , =xɨ Vɺ iɮE E |Oɨ nB V *

< ֱE E iɽVҤ + iɨqn E Jɱɡ * ɨZx EɺҮ E ʽxn ڴV nJ< VɪM, i =xE E< nںɮ {nb M + Vɤ +OV ڴV nJ< VɪM, i nںɮ {nb M* nJx ɱ ɽ M ʽxnֺix * <ʱB Ex Sɽi E BE Eɨ|ɽʺɴ ʤɱ +x SʽB, VɺE +xn ɮ iɽVҤ + iɨqn <x]E] x SʽB*

MR. CHAIRMAN : Kindly conclude now. You were allotted three minutes, I have given you five minutes.

ʶn + : Vn Ei x i B, BE i + Ex Sɽi * Vix bEʺ]M ʨxɺ] B , =xE uɮ nB MB Ex]bE] ]]] xɽ Vx Sɽi , Ex BE i Vɰ Ex Sɽi * Mɴx Eh x Mi E +xn E - Vxi n iɮE E i , BE V E ʱB + nںɮ n E ʱB* Mɴx Eh x E l, Vɤ Vxi V E ʱB E Vi , i xɹ` +{x +l J ni * Vɤ xɹ` +{x +l J ni , i SS< +{x iɱɤ J ni + Vɤ SS< +{x iɱɤ J ni , i ʺɡ Z` E V i + =E +ɴ E + E V xɽ i * <ʱɪ V] V Ex Sɽi E Vxi n E ʱɪ E, V E ʱɪ xɽ * <ʱB SɽM E BE Eɨ|ɽʺɴ ʤɱ x SʽB, iE |ɺɮ ɮi x ʺɡ <xb{b] Eɨ E, ʱE n E xVɮ +B E ɽ <b{b] Eɨ E il =E +xn iɨɨ iɽVҤ + iɨqn Eɮ Ex SʽB*

SHRI T.T.V. DHINAKARAN (PERIYAKULAM): Hon. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, thank you for giving me an opportunity to participate in this debate.

Advertisements is the basic resource on which the television channels survive. But certain television channels have monopolised on the advertisements over the years to the disadvantage of other channels. Therefore, I request the hon. Minister to take necessary steps to bring a legislation on the lines of Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 for the prevalence of the healthy trend in television industry. Thank you, Sir.

vɨ V ʺƽ {] (ڱ{֮) : ɦ{i ɽn, Eɦ {ɽ ɮ SxE +ɪ + |ɺɮ ɮi E EɪEh E ʴɹɪ +{x vɮh nx E ɨx Jx Sɽi *

ɽn, +{iEɱ E ɨɪ ƺn V ɪ i +Jɤɮ E vɨ xi E +Eɶɴh + nڮnx {ɮ EO E xɪxjh * < iɮ ƪEi S E ɮEɮ ɮiҪ Vxi {] + ɮ n x c< c l E nڮnx + +Eɶɴh E ixj E VBM* E iɮ +{iEɱ Ji +, EO E V Ji + + ƪEi S E ɮEɮ +<, i xʶSi { nڮnx x ixj { Eɨ E + Vxi E = ʴɶɺ +* Ex + Vɤ ɮiҪ Vxi {] E ɮEɮ + M< , i n ɱ Miɮ nJ E

TV

+ b {ɮ V ʴɶE +i + ʴʦxx ʴɹɪ {ɮ ʴɶh Ei , ɮiҪ Vxi {] E ɨlE i * =x ɨlE E ֱE bEx Eɪ Vi *

TV

+ b {ɮ xi , =x YxE E ֱɪ Vi , V ɮiҪ Vxi {] E ɨlE EO E ɨlE , Ex E iҺɮ =E ɨlE E xɽ ֱɪ Vi *

<ʱB ɽ vɮh xi E ɮiҪ Vxi {] E xҪi Jɮɤ * <E |ɨh Sxɴ E nx nJ< {c Vɤ ɮiҪ Vxi {] E ɮEɮ l* b + ]ʴVx ɮɤɮ ɽ |Sɮ E Vi E ɨVɴn {] < n ɨ{i Mɪ + ɽ BE-n ] Vn Vi xɽ {ɪM* n E ֺɱɨx ɨVɴn {] UcE Sɱ Mɪ * |ɺɮ ɮi E Ƥv x +h V E <] {g * ɨZi E <xE j i B nڮnx + +Eɶɴh xɹ{I Eɨ E {ɪM, <ɨ Z n * ɮiҪ Vxi {] iҺɮ E ɨ{i Ex E ʱB {ڮ Eʶɶ Ei + +M Ei M* <ʱB +{E vɨ j V xɴnx EM E ɽ V <E x E Eʶɶ E V + xxҪ Vɪ{ɱ d V x V ʴSɮ E ʱB <E J , =E Eɮ E Vɪ + +M BE ʴɶY ʨi x< Vɪ Vɺɨ ɮ {]Ǫ E M * <x ɤn E l +{x i ɨ{i Ei *

MR. CHAIRMAN : Hon. Member Shri Suresh Kurup to speak. Shri Kurup, your Party was allotted seven minutes. Shri Rup Chand Pal has consumed more time. You have been given a bonus minute.

SHRI SURESH KURUP (KOTTAYAM): Sir, it is the discretion of the Chair.

Respected Chairman, Sir, it has been a long and painful endeavour to all the right-thinking persons in this country that we should utilise AIR and Doordarshan for stabilising our democratic setup and also for bettering the millions of illiterate poor people of our country. We are on the threshold of the next millennium and the world has already sunk to a global village. Our electronic media is facing its biggest challenge. Our skies are already open and various TV channels are competing with each other.

Now what are the rules of the game here? Credible and reliable information and also wide variety of entertainment are the new rules of the broadcasting regime. Here profit-driven and performance-oriented companies are competing with each other for influencing the mind and heart of the people.

In this environment, what should be the role of our electronic media apart from entertainment in which, of course, they have to compete successfully with other TV channels? They have a great responsibility on their shoulders. This is the only medium which can rise to the millions of illiterate masses of our country because illiteracy is not a bar for hearing the radio and viewing television.

The duty of AIR and Doordarshan is to inform, educate and entertain. My humble submission is that competition with other TV channels should not be at the cost of public service broadcasting. Already the time earmarked for public service broadcasting is being reduced. In a country like India, public service broadcasting should not be sacrificed at the altar of commercialisation. The public service broadcasting cannot be led by the market because, as I pointed out earlier, half of our population is out of the market, beyond the market.

So, whatever material that you want to reach the poor farmers to improve the quality of their life can only be through public service broadcasting. Here lies the main difference between Doordarshan and other TV channels. It should communicate to each and every citizen of our country. In this scenario, in what way should AIR and Doordarshan function? It is already pointed out that it was the dream of Jawaharlal Nehru that AIR should be modelled like BBC, with only broad Government control and wide autonomy. All these years, we have seen the negation of this idea. It was during emergency, we witnessed the naked assault on the independence of AIR and Doordarshan in this country. So, after emergency, the new ruling dispensation could not back out from the commitment given to the people regarding conferring of autonomy to AIR and Doordarshan. It was in this atmosphere that B.G. Verghese Committee was appointed, 20 years have lapsed since that Committee presented its Report, and everyone knows that none of its recommendations were implemented. It was a difficult path for AIR and Doordarshan to tread to reach the gates of autonomy.

It was a genuine attempt to confer autonomy to AIR and Doordarshan that the Prasar Bharati Act of 1990 was passed. But again, the country had to wait for another non-Congress Government for conferring the autonomy to the electronic media. It goes to the credit of my esteemed colleague, Shri Jaipal Reddy ... (Interruptions)

SHRI K.P. SINGH DEO (DHENKANAL): Then he was a former Congressman, and now he is a Congressman.

SHRI SURESH KURUP : He is always a Congressman at heart. He was the only Broadcasting Minister in this country who showed the political will and conviction to confer genuine autonomy to AIR and Doordarshan by constituting the Prasar Bharati Board and making it autonomous. In any case, it is a pleasure and pious obligation to salute him.

As everyone knows, the breath of fresh air that Shri Jaipal Reddy could infuse into the organisation could not last long. Again, it has degraded into the level of any ordinary Government department. This Government's policy towards this organisation, and the treatment that is in store for AIR and Doordarshan became evident when the Government made Romila Thapar and Rajendra Yadav to retire. Each and every speaker has referred about it. But what were the criteria used for this retirement? The only criteria used was that they were voices of dissent, as far as the Government is concerned. The Government do not want any independent-minded intellectual in this Board. They want to fill this institution with loyal saffronites. If we take the Government's attitude at its face value that as per the Act, after every two years two members have to retire, even then there was one vacancy already existing. That was created because Shri A. Padmanabhaiah had become the Governor. So, the need, if at all there was any need, was only for one member to retire. This itself shows that the Government's argument is spurious. This is part of a systematic organised attempt by BJP to saffronise all the key areas in the country. Already, textbooks are being rewritten, history books are trampled with, so also Prasar Bharati.


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