Ansari(Rajya Sabha) TV is soaking up money faster than a sponge does water

Speaker, in a joint session after nomination of Rekha in Rajya Sabha

Speaker, in a joint session after nomination of Rekha in Rajya Sabha

In creating an independent television channel to promote the Rajya Sabha (RS) and its members, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who is chairman of the Upper House, seems to have indulged in an extravagance that our stretched public resources can ill-afford. Pallavi Polanki  files a very important & explosive report in Firstpost India :

Headed by Gurdeep Singh Sappal, formerly OSD (officer on special duty) to Ansari, Rajya Sabha TV is soaking up money faster than a sponge does water. For 2012-13, the bill will be around Rs 73 crore. In November 2007 when Sappal, then OSD to the chairman, requested the file on the initiative to “launch Rajya Sabha Television, which was eventually abandoned” to be put up for his perusal. Subsequently, in April 2008, when the GPC gave its ‘in principle’ nod to RS TV, the channel was proposed as joint project with Lok Sabha TV, under a common network called the Sansad Television Network. However, what transpired – the launch of RSTV as an independent entity – was neither approved nor endorsed by the GPC. This, despite members of another Rajya Sabha committee, expressing strong reservations about the creation of an independent channel.

… setting up of a new RS TV channel by spending several crores of rupees may not serve any purpose, as it would not be run by experts in the field, thereby leading to production and airing poor quality programmes. Moreover, the exercise to project the members of the Rajya Sabha was not advisable as proceedings were already being telecast by Doordarshan…But that was not to happen.

..No gazette notification was issued on the setting up of the channel…And for 2012-2013, the budgeted expenditure (for the channel)  is an astounding Rs 73.30 crore.

….Raising the question, do we really need more general interest programming using taxpayers’ money — on a channel dedicated to Parliament, when we already have a national broadcast network (Doordarshan) with a fleet of channels catering to everything from news and current affairs to entertainment, sports and more?

Read the full report: Ansari’s Rajya Sabha TV swallows huge state resources

Oldest Indian Parliamentarian Rishang Keishing says, It was so quiet and peaceful then!

For Rishang Keishing (92), the world of Indian Parliament had opened up through the window of a train. After getting elected from Manipur in the first Lok Sabha in 1952, it took four days for him to reach Delhi. He is the oldest parliamentarian in India.

“I had to board an overcrowded train to Delhi at Katihar. The police somehow pushed me inside it through a window,” Keishing, now a Rajya Sabha member, recalls.

For the first time, the man from Bungpa Khunou village saw India beyond Assam.

“I was awestruck when I entered Parliament. I entered the Lok Sabha and saw stalwarts like Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Azad sitting across me. I had only seen their pictures in newspapers. I thanked God for the day,” he tells HT.

Three other MPs of 1952 Lok Sabha are alive: Resham Lal Jangade (Bilaspur constituency), Kamal Singh (Shahabad-North-West) and Kandala Subrahmanyam (Vizianagaram). But they are leading retired lives.

Keishing is politically active and his memory remains razor-sharp. He recalls his first meeting with Nehru: He spotted the Prime Minister in the Parliament corridor and called out to him. The Prime Minister turned back. Keishing asked if some emissaries of Zapu Phizo (the secessionist Naga leader) can meet him.

“No, No, No” Nehru snapped back and questioned why a handful of Naga leaders refuse to accept India’s authority. Keishing, a die-hard Indian nationalist, hit back: “Why are you shouting at me? I have just come to hear ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”

“Nehru followed me and caught me by my arm after a few minutes. He said they should first meet the home minister,” Keishing recalls.

His closest association was with Indira Gandhi. Keishing, then a minister in Manipur, came to meet her and she said, you become the chief minister.

“I said I belong to a small tribe and she replied, ‘In democracy, the size of your community doesn’t matter. What matters is the confidence of people’.”

After his first Rajya Sabha term, Keishing requested Sonia Gandhi to let him retire.

“Soniaji threw a dinner party. After dinner, I walked up to her to say goodbye. She told me, ‘you are re-nominated. Now you rush back to Imphal to file your nomination papers’.”

The biggest regret of the MP is, of course, the deteriorating standard of parliamentary practice.

“It was so quiet and peaceful. Today’s disruptions don’t help much,” Keishing says.

If Loksabha, a bat would really have come in handy to Sachin

Tunku Varadarajan writes in his column The World On A Page in The Newsweek International

Little Master, M.P.

Until now, the only argument Indians have had over Sachin Tendulkar is whether he is the greatest cricketer ever to have played the game, or merely the greatest Indian cricketer. But with his nomination to the Rajya Sabha—the Indian parliament’s upper house—some of his fussier compatriots are asking what (if any) skills the batsman possesses that would equip him for a legislature. Tendulkar, known to the game’s followers as the “little master,” is a notably apolitical man. He will be the first active sportsman to sit in the upper house, a sedate institution when compared with the Lok Sabha, or lower house—where a bat would really have come in handy.

Tunku Varadarajan is the editor of Newsweek International. He is also the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow in Journalism at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He was an editor at the Wall Street Journal from 2000 to 2007.

India’s Chief Info Officer:Bigamy for an MP is a “personal matter” !!!

Mr Kumaraswamy recently admitted that he had also secretly tied the knot with actress Radhika and has a daughter with her. The state Lokayukta had demanded disqualification of Kumaraswamy as an MP for violating the Hindu Marriage Act that prohibits polygamy

Former Karnataka chief minister, HD Kumaraswamy, has the support of the ministry of Parliamentary affairs in protecting his “personal life”, which relates to his (second) marriage to a Kannada actress and the assets held by her.

RTI activist Subhas Chandra Agrawal had filed a query with the ministry seeking rules and regulations pertaining to submission of personal information of Members of Parliament (MPs) and the actions to be taken against them in case they fail to furnish all details. The CPIO (chief public information officer) HL Negi, however, seems to agree with Mr Kumaraswamy that whether or not he furnishes the details of his (second) marriage and the assets his wife and children, is his “personal matter”.

Mr Negi said, “The ministry culls out press clippings relating to important political developments, from national newspapers only for information of the joint secretary and secretary of this ministry. The issue of HD Kumaraswamy having more than one wife is a personal matter and therefore this issue was not culled out by the ministry.”

Mr Agrawal has filed an appeal with the ministry, asking for the details. He said, “Furnishing incomplete details of spouse/s and his/her assets and wealth to concerned public authority is improper. I appeal that the learned CPIO may kindly be directed to revisit the relevant queries and furnish me a proper reply, if necessary after seeking details from the concerned honourable Parliamentarian HD Kumaraswamy.”

Mr Kumaraswamy’s name has been associated with the land grab scandal in Karnataka, in which former CM BS Yedyurappa is also involved. The Karnataka Lokayukta has summoned both of them along with others to appear before the court on 24th May. Mr Kumaraswamy had already moved the high court for anticipatory bail, and was granted the same on Friday.

Mr Kumaraswamy is married to Anita, who is a member of Karnataka assembly. However, he recently admitted that he had also secretly tied the knot with actress Radhika and has a daughter with her. The Lok Sabha member had refused to divulge details of assets in the name of Radhika and her child and had told the media that his marriage is a “personal matter”.

The Lokayukta had demanded a list of assets held by his wife shortly after a PIL was filed in the high court that demanded disqualification of Kumaraswamy as an MP for violating the Hindu Marriage Act that prohibitspolygamy. However, the PIL was rejected. courtesy:

Zee News enters Limca Book of Records once again

After the environmental campaign ‘My Earth My Duty’, Zee Newsvoter awareness campaign ‘Aapka Vote Aapki Taaqat’ creates history











The success of Zee News, the nation’s most trusted news channel, has once more been acknowledged by the Limca Book of Records 2011-12. After its environmental campaign ‘My Earth My Duty’ was listed, the channel will find mention for organizing and executing India’s largest voter awareness campaign ‘Aapka Vote Aapki Taaqat’.

Addressing the issue of decreasing voter percentage as a part of its responsibility as the fourth estate, Zee News rolled out the campaign to sensitize voters about the importance of voting to ensure a responsive, accountable and democratically elected government.








Launched during the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 with exclusive support from the Election Commission of India, the initiative registered phenomenal success. The drive continued to make waves in the Assembly elections of Maharashtra, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar & West Bengal, and the recent 2012 Assembly elections. Consequently, the public service campaign is acknowledged as one of India’s biggest and most credible voter awareness drives.

In an attempt to reach the grassroots of India, given the different cultures and lifestyles, Zee News left no stone unturned. The message was spread not just on TV, but also on Radio, Internet, Mobiles and other conventional mediums covering more than hundred cities and villages. To ensure wider & maximum possible reach, Zee News also brought together various reputed media organizations with just one objective in mind – to turn the world’s biggest democracy into a force to reckon with.

(courtesy: BestMediaInfo )

Women victims become culprits


“…To want to go out, step out of the frame to claim her space is inconceivable and must be checked…”

In February this year the police in Noida deliberately released the identity of a 17 year-old rape victim in clear violation of the law.

This disclosure was followed by a statement regarding the supposed ‘consent’ of the girl in the act of partaking of alcohol with the alleged rapists just before she was raped.

How does one read this? That a ‘bad’ girl, identified as interested in alcohol and partying, is tarnishing the image of ‘good’ boys, who were merely having a good time?

Rape, whether we like it or not, is a part of our daily reality-in cities, villages, at the workplace and at homeRape, whether we like it or not, is a part of our daily reality-in cities, villages, at the workplace and at home

And how come every time there is an act of sexual violence against a woman these ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ come to be part of our mindscape? Of course the morality discourse is resurrected only when the crime gets reported-otherwise no one really cares.

Otherwise rape, whether we like it or not, is a part of our daily reality-in cities, villages, at the workplace and at home. What’s so new about the Gurgaon rape of a 23 year old that we have not heard before?

There is a lot that we have heard before though: late night shifts at ‘dubious’ workplaces, such as bars and restaurants; wearing improper attire; travelling alone on lonely roads. This particular reasoning that identifies the woman as the perpetrator of a crime against herself extends beyond rape, but is limited exclusively to women.

So, Soumya Vishwanathan’s death while driving back home at 3.30am was also asking for it. Every government functionary from the politician to the police believes it is so, then it must be true.

High time women accepted that they are not victims, but the reason why rape happens.

The moment a woman steps out of the home, for whatever reasons, she is inviting the wrath of a whole social system that is trying to ‘protect’ her for themselves. She is representative of so much more than just herself.

The moment a woman steps out of the home, for whatever reasons, she is inviting the wrath of a whole social system that is trying to 'protect' her for themselvesThe moment a woman steps out of the home, for whatever reasons, she is inviting the wrath of a whole social system that is trying to ‘protect’ her for themselves

After all in India the woman is mother, daughter, sister and wife-to a man. To want to go out, step out of the frame to claim her space is inconceivable and must be checked. No wonder then that in a reading of the Lok Sabha debates on the Rape Law of 1983, sociologist Pratiksha Baxi finds that rape treats the man as subject, and the woman as object. The rape is not about her, but about the violation of a male code.

This is reflected in the discussion on the law which tries to distinguish between the chaste and unchaste woman, the married and unmarried woman, and the raped women and the ‘normal’ woman. The control over reproduction creates these categories-so, a ‘protected’ woman is the married mother.

Baxi adds that in patriarchal societies where descent defines the woman’s place––rape literally defiles the descent line. It’s a crime by men against men. Every time a woman comes to report a rape, or every time the police have to answer questions on rape, they commit a double crime on the rape survivor.

The courts do it again when they hear her testimony. The state rapes its women with their questions, interrogations and insinuations about character and conduct. But what is it about cities that attract such power struggles––for that is exactly what rape is-an act of violence to reclaim lost ‘power’.

In contemporary India, the city space has been way more welcoming of women than any other. Its anonymity adds to the freedom that numbers bring. The growing need for a workforce helped us get out, and work towards reclaiming the public.

But according to a report by the NGO Jagori, it is these very urban spaces that are now potential cover for crimes against women. So many of the places we inhabit in our daily lives are fraught with danger. Low street lighting, narrow lanes, public alcohol dens all add to our misery. It is indeed a sad commentary that many of the rapes in Delhi happen very close to where the rape victim lives, by someone she knows.

A report cites how often people one may know and trust-neighbours, relatives, friends, colleagues-may exploit our trust. Lifts in cars with acquaintances have often been cited in cases of rape.

The tinted, moving car is the perfect space for this kind of violence––the speed adds to the ‘thrill’. The fast life of the city affects both women and men-like the toll booth operator who got shot last year for asking for the toll, or the recent case of a bouncer who was beaten up outside a city hotel for having denied entry to some patrons to a night club.

Does the city breed this kind of mentality-of intolerance, impatience and violence? In a panel discussion on a news channel following the incident of violence against the toll booth operator, one of the panelists spoke of the feeling of ‘entitlement’ that the city’s youth feel they have towards the right to have a ‘good’ time.

Anyone who comes in the way of their enjoyment is taking away their right, and must be accordingly treated. Thus women who are out at night working, partying, on an emergency, whatever it might be, are ‘easy pickings’. If she resists then she is impinging upon their right.

Perhaps the saddest commentary of our times is when fathers in their anxiety and worry over the safety of their daughters ‘laud’ the efforts of the police to curb the time till which a woman can work at night-8pm in Gurgaon after the recent case.

Or when they silently agree with the vitriolic that law enforcers spew about clothing and ‘decency’. It is at these times that a woman truly comes to feel like a culprit herself.

(courtesy: ANINDITA MAJUMDAR & MailOnLine, India)

Now, Nehru Dynasty’s Television Awards for Journos !!!

Barkha Dutt, Group Editor, English News, New D...

The government is thinking of setting up annual National Awards for media, similar to the National Film Awards, to reward excellence in media and journalism, the ministry of information and broadcasting said in reply to a question in the Parliament.

“A National Media Awards scheme is being examined in the Ministry. Details will be provided as and when the same are finalized,” CM Jatua, junior minister for information and broadcasting told the Lok Sabha.

He was responding to a question about whether the government planned to “reward” journalists and other media persons showing “excellent performance” in their field.

The government already runs the National Film Awards — an annual event in which it awards films, film-makers, artists, technicians etc. based on the evaluations conducted by a panel appointed by the ministry.

The issue of awards and rewards to journalists, however, may be more controversial as the journalists also perform the duty of acting as checks and balances on the government.

The government already has a mechanism of conferring awards on journalists through a system of civilian awards. Among the journalists felicitated by the Padma awards are Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Dua and Barkha Dutt.

India currently has several awards for journalists, nearly all of which are handed out by associations or organizations within the industry.