Here’s a story that won’t make the 9 pm news. As per reports in a few regional language newspapers (yes, they still have The Spine), the Union is proposing an increase in the prices of rice, wheat and cereals sold through the National Food Security Act (NFSA) by Rs.7 per kg for Priority Households (PHH)
Parliament is not in session but there’s so much to be said. So let’s pull out the laptop and share a few thoughts on an issue that has always interested me: content creation.
By holding the Budget before the Assembly polls, the BJP government has shown scant regard for Parliament.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Personal Data Protection on Monday adopted its report, on which it had been deliberating since 2019. But the committee chose to retain some highly controversial clauses, which provide the government with unbridled and sweeping powers.
Young India, this is your democracy. This is your parliament. These are your farmers. This is your future.
With every session, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is brazenly rewriting the rules of Parliament. Cancel Question Hour, so the Opposition isn’t given a chance to hold the government accountable. Slash Zero Hour time by half, from 60 minutes to 30 minutes, to deprive the Opposition of raising issues of importance. Misuse a constitutional tool such as an ordinance to mock Parliament, in a way it hasn’t been done in 70 years.
Scrapping of the Question Hour in parliament for the upcoming monsoon session is not the only parliamentary convention that the BJP-led government at the centre is subverting. They have set yet another dubious record. We are 450 days into the 17th Lok Sabha and the post for the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha is still vacant. This is the longest by far ever taken by a union government to fill up the post. What makes it all the more curious is that the BJP and the NDA have a comfortable majority in the Lower House.
As parliament is set to meet after a 6-month COVID-induced break, the session is likely to have many firsts. We have seen media reports citing government sources that say there will be large display screens, audio consoles, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, and working weekends. Judging by the feelers being sent out by senior ministers, one suspects that the government will use this pandemic to muzzle voices of the opposition in parliament.
Now is different than before. How long will now last? Is now here to stay? Till Puja? Or Diwali? Or Christmas and beyond? Did we think now would be like this? A world in which we would have to learn a whole new range of skill sets. A whole new way of living. An unfamiliar now. That’s taught us new ways to do things. New ways to work. New ways to communicate. New ways to even grieve. New techniques to master. New words to learn.
Rather than stand up for good journalism and take editorial positions on principles or policies, media companies and TV channels have mortgaged their channels to the ruling party and the government.