The merger of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha Television is in its final stages, with the six-member Committee expected to submit its final report in two weeks time. There has been overwhelming demand that live transmission of the proceedings of the two houses should not be disrupted.

The Committee was constituted on November 7 and consists of Prasar Bharati Chairman Surya Prakash; Additional Secretary to the RS Secretariat A. Rao; the Lok Sabha Secretariat’s Ganpati Bhatt; Financial Advisor to RS TV Shikha Darbari; and CEOs of RS TV and LS TV, Manoj Kumar Pandey and Aashish Joshi, respectively. The mandate laid down for the Committee was “to work out the modalities and prepare the guidelines for pooling resources, manpower and technology for the merger of the two channels”.

The Committee is expected to submit its report by end of this month to Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. The final decision will be taken by them.

Two options

According to sources, the Committee is weighing between two options. The first is to have a single channel and, during the Parliament sessions, to have a “variant” to broadcast the live debate of both the houses. The second option, according to sources, is to continue with the two channels but under an “integrated management” with a common pool of technical and human resources. “The Parliament is in session for close to 100 days in a year and for the remaining period, we don’t really need two channels,” an official said.

Rajya Sabha TV professionals, who get an year-long contract, have been given a six-month contract up to June this year, to ensure that no contractual problems arise when the two channels are remodelled.

Consultative process

The Committee has had several rounds of consultations, including one meeting with Parliamentarians from across political parties. The Parliamentarians have stressed that the live telecast of the proceedings of both the houses should be continued. “The channels need to highlight the working of democracy and be restricted to the Parliament itself. They need to hire talented professionals and increase the quality of telecast,” one of the MPs who attended the meeting said.

Lok Sabha Television was launched in 2006 by then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. The Rajya Sabha TV followed this launch.

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