MP Vidhan Sabha to telecast live House proceedings

BHOPAL: Taking a cue from Lok Sabha TV, the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha will soon have its own television channel that will telecast proceedings of the house live. At present, apart from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, four states — Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand — are regularly telecasting live the proceedings of their Houses.
“There is a proposal to telecast proceedings of state assembly live by the Vidhan Sabha secretariat. We have been mulling a detailed procedure for this which would be executed after the approval of Speaker Sitasharan Sharma”, said principal secretary of Vidhan Sabha, A P Singh.

He said the secretariat is following guidelines on the possibility of a dedicated channel for Vidhan Sabha. Discussions were underway seeking help from some of the states where live telecast of assembly proceedings is being done regularly. The government is collecting details and inputs on the expenses and programmes to be included during the telecast, added Singh.

“We have written to Bihar, UP and Maharashtra seeking details about expenses, procedure and rules for live telecast of the House proceedings. As per the plan, the telecast could begin from the budget session of the state assembly in 2018, with the governor’s address and budget speech by the finance minister. There are a few suggestions to begin the telecast with Question Hour and we are considering the same,” Singh said.

Officials in the assembly secretariat said neighbouring Chhattisgarh has recently started live telecast of its House proceedings where edited discussions during the Question Hour were aired. While some states have roped in private channels for the telecast, others have taken help from local channels of government-run Doordarshan. Sources in the assembly secretariat said that the entire project is expected to cost over Rs 100 crore and the state is in consultation with some private agencies for technical support of the project.
“The idea is to percolate the democratic processes down to the masses. People should know what their elected representatives are doing in the legislature. Also, live telecast of Assembly proceedings alone will put an end to the acrimonious scenes taking place inside the House,” said the officials.

In May 2014, Opposition Congress had demanded setting up of a dedicated TV channel to telecast live proceedings of the state assembly. Raising the issue, the then leader of Opposition Satyadev Katare had demanded that a dedicated channel for Vidhan Sabha could be set up on the lines of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha TV.
“The people of the country have the facility to watch live proceedings of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. On the same lines, Vidhan Sabha should also have its own dedicated channel so that citizens of the state get an opportunity to watch assembly’s proceedings live,” Katare had said.

Unfortunately a plan to telecast live proceedings of the house could never become possible during Katare’s tenure, who died in October 2016 after a prolonged illness. Before his demise he had expressed hope that assembly Speaker Sitasharan Sharma is a man of ‘progressive thoughts’ and therefore the Opposition benches were hopeful that the channel would be launched during his tenure.