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SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK: You have got reasons to criticize the 2005 Film Festival...(Interruptions)..
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Please speak on the subject.
SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK: Sir, I am on the subject. You have got different reasons. I know that. But we will not be referring to that. But, Sir, if you want to continue the International Film Festivals in a proper manner, I would request you that as a Minister for Information -- CBI is inquiring into the 2004 Film Festival -- kindly expedite that inquiry. Then, things will come out properly.
Sir, now, I will make one or two points regarding my State. Since you are there, I am taking this opportunity. Sir, you will be surprised to know although we are hosting International Film Festivals, still, Goa does not have a full-fledged Doordarshan Kendra. Forget about that; in a State like Goa which is, internationally famous, we don't have even a two minutes' news bulletin. Can you imagine that? I made some efforts. I started my efforts right from Shrimati Sushma Swarajji's Ministry, then, you also took up that matter. After my efforts, ultimately, during Shri Jaipalji's regime, one Doordarshan studio was granted, progress is on, and plans are now being prepared. Kindly expedite that thing, Sir. Similarly, you will be surprised to know that we come to know about the events taken place in a day in this State by listening to one news bulletin which is telecast at 7.20 p.m. Throughout the day, we come to know about all the events taking place in New York, or anywhere in Paris, but we come to know about Goa news only through the 7.20 AIR bulletin. That is the only bulletin we have. Therefore, kindly modernise this All-India Radio. Start some News bulletin again.
Secondly, Sir, I would say that as far as our own coverage is concerned -- we should not say much about it, -- the point is that even Doordarshan gives the coverage on 'Today in Parliament' in a very insipid manner. Is the Question Hour covered properly? Are our debates also covered by Doordarshan? Unless Doordarshan takes the initiative, the other channels will not respect us. Hardly one or two questions are touched at the prime time. That is all. That is the only coverage we get. Now, you may say that we have got two separate channels -- Rajya Sabha Doordarshan and Lok Sabha Doordarshan. Nobody is showing those channels, in spite of the compulsions....(Interruptions)..
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: This is where I want that the Minister should look into it. In fact, the law says that the cable operators, who are not showing Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha channels, they can be prosecuted. But, I am sorry to say,-- in fact, as a Deputy Chairman I have written to various Governments also -- that they are not implementing the cable rules and they are not showing the Parliament Channels. I hope that this would be looked into.
SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK: Then, Sir, as far as the news which is telecast by private channels is concerned, -- of course, we can't dictate terms when we have got our Constitution -- the question is that when one leader of a political party says that his phone is being tapped and he accuses my party leader by name, how can any coverage be given by any private channel to that? How can we tolerate this? Since your telephone is being tapped, you take the name of the leader of a political party, without any responsibility, and any private channel telecasts this! Sir, you have to take a note of all these things. The point is, I can understand distortions here and there, but we can't check every distortion. But, this was a serious thing done recently by one leader of a political party.
Then, Sir, as far as TV channels are concerned, there are many channels. Last time also, we said this and there was a discussion here. People come on television channels and claim medicinal benefits. They say that you will become slim if you take a particular type of medicine; your skin will become fair if you apply a particular type of soap or lotion. Is the freedom available to distort a fact or to tell an untruth? Is there any law or are we going to check these aspects of advertisements, or, are we going to give all freedom to them that you can say anything about your product and you are allowed to do the same?
(Contd. by 4c/PB)
SHRI SHANTARAM LAXMAN NAIK (CONTD.): Therefore, as far as advertisement is concerned, there must be some sort of code of conduct. Out of advertisements, models earn crores of rupees. Of course, we can't prevent them from earning crores of rupees. Sir, stars like Sachin Tendulkar or Shah Rukh Khan or, even Amitabhji, are entitled to charge for such advertisements. But we have to see that when they charge for it and the producers pay -- it is the industrialists which pays to them -- it is actually the tax that a consumer pays directly. This is apart from the Budget. In Budget, Chidambaramji may say 'soaps are not taxed', but, here, through advertisements, people are indirectly charged and taxed heavily. A soap may cost five rupees, but because of the advertisement, it costs ten rupees. So, this aspect of indirect and hidden taxation has to be looked into by the Ministry.
Lastly, Sir, as it was pointed out initially by some hon. Member, I would like to know whether the Government can accept the idea of State funding of elections. The State funding of elections is okay, if it is done. But this is a different method of State funding. It has to be looked into. In 'India Shining' advertisement, crores of rupees of the Government were used by a political party for election funding because some months before the elections, the 'India Shining' programme was there and the State funds were directly given for that purpose, and, therefore, electoral benefits were there. Therefore, there should be a thorough inquiry into what types of funds were given, what was the amount and how it was utilised. Thank you, Sir, for having given me an opportunity. (Ends)
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Mr. Narayanasamy. You are the last speaker, and you have requested to speak for two minutes only.
SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (PONDICHERRY): Sir, I will finish in only two minutes.
Sir, I heard with rapt attention some of the hon. Members making a lot of criticism about Doordarshan. I agree that some of them were constructive criticism. But, Sir, the role of Doordarshan whether it is in the field of education, disseminating information to the people, especially, the student community, or whether it is in the fields of science and technology, health sector, culture, etc., cannot be overlooked. I can say with authority that no other private channel, none of them, has covered these aspects because the Doordarshan is not run for profit alone. It is for the society. In educating the society on various aspects and helping the society, Doordarshan has been doing a wonderful job. Sir, some criticisms have come from here and there. Some political parties have been given projections; some political leaders have been given projections. Sir, I have not seen any programme that gives political mileage to any political party. I have not found it in any of the programmes that are being telecast by Doordarshan. However, on the other hand, some of the private channels are being used in some States and also at the national level by some political parties to promote their party's interests. It is happening there.
Sir, as far as the AIR is concerned, with a coverage of more than 99 per cent of the area, I would like to say that it is giving the best news to the people. So, as far as the AIR is concerned, it deserves appreciation. Sir, last time also when I participated in the debate on regulating the private channels, I requested the hon. Minister that there should be a legislation to regulate the private channels because the criticism that has come on the private channels which are telecasting films, programmes, and so many other things, is about the violation of the rules. I want the hon. Minister to regulate them. There had been a similar demand when hon. Member, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, was the Minister for Information and Broadcasting. The same question had been put by various hon. Members, irrespective of the political parties they belonged. Sir, I think, there should be a regulation on the programmes telecast by the private TV channels. It is very important because in this country, a kind of vilification campaign, maligning the political leaders, is going on, in a big way, for purposes of making money by these private television channels. (Contd. by 4d/SKC)
SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY (CONTD.): It needs to be stopped. Therefore, Sir, I want the hon. Minister to reconsider this.
Coming to my State, we have got the Doordharshan Kendra, which is quite old. Shri Ajit Panja was the then Minister; he is also from West Bengal. He came and inaugurated the studio, the production unit, there. More than 75 people are working there for a ten minutes' News programme. For only ten minutes' News programme, more than 75 people are working! Most of them are coming from Chennai. They come on Mondays, return on Fridays and there is nobody on Saturdays and Sundays. All the officers and people working in the production unit go away. The Doordarshan Kendra is practically dead because we are using only the National channel, which has been telecasting the programmes.
Sir, Pondicherry is a place of international repute because of the presence of Indian and French cultures. There is the Aurobindo Ashram and the international city Auroville; it has got its importance. But, the local News is not covered and the production unit of Doordharshan Kendra in Pondicherry is not at all working. Then why do you have it? Please, close it. Why do you have that unit? Assurance was given on the floor of the House, when the issue was raised by me through a Special Mention, that they would look into the matter. So far, nothing has been done.
Therefore, Sir, I want the hon. Minister to consider the matter and see to it that as far as the issue of production is concerned, it should be useful to the people of the State. Beyond 20 K.M., we cannot watch the programme; only 20 K.M. radius is covered. Therefore, Sir, I want the hon. Minister to increase the coverage area and see to it that the production unit functions efficiently. Otherwise, for heaven's sake, close it! (Ends)
SHRI JANARDHANA POOJARY (KARNATAKA) : Sir, I would take just a minute. It is heartening to note, for the first time, that the entire battery of officers is in the gallery. That shows how much importance the hon. Minister is giving to the views expressed by the hon. Members. This is an exemplary act that also shows that he has got control over the department...(interruption)... It shows what importance he is giving to the Members of Parliament's views. This needs to be followed by other Ministries as well. I have been observing this, and even while the discussion on the Finance Ministry was taking place, very few officers were present here. Here we see that all the officers are listening to the views of the hon. Members with rapt attention. I compliment the hon. Minister.
MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: Thank you. The discussion on the Working of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is concluded. The reply will be taken up later. The date would be informed.
The House stands adjourned to meet tomorrow at 11.00 a.m.
The House then adjourned at thirteen minutes
past six of the clock till eleven of the clock
on Tuesday, the 14th of March, 2006.