Cynicism about parliamentary democracy taking over youth:Somnath

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Mumbai, Feb 5 (UNI) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today said that cynicism about the utility of the parliamentary system and the role of legislators among the youth of India was a disturbing feature.

Speaking to mediapersons after addressing the valedictory session of the 14th All India Whips Conference here, Mr Chatterjee appealed to the media to highlight positive achievements of the parliament and not just give prominence to disturbances in the Parliament or Legislature.

''Sadly, normal and peaceful functioning of the Legislature is no news for the media. Cynicism is engulfing our younger generation about elected representatives. It is a disturbing feature. There is no alternative to parliamentary democracy and it is up to the media to contribute to strengthening of the parliamentary functioning,'' he said.

Mr Chatterjee said if something is wrong, we have to correct it.

Younger generation has to take liking for public affairs and politics is the best medium. Media can play an important role in it.

''I am for freedom of the media and feel that it should not be independent of truth. Media can criticise when the budget is passed without debate and if bills are passed in haste. Parliament has taken note of electronic media's expose on cash for query scam, MPs misusing MPLAD funds or the MP involved in human trafficking. Action was taken against them after inquiry,'' he added.

Earlier, in his valedictory address, Mr Chatterjee expressed concern at the falling standards of parliamentary behaviour. Scenes of unruly conduct attracts adverse public comments and legislators cannot lose sight of the fact that the loss of people's faith can damage their democratic polity. ''Disturbances and forced adjournments should never be used as tools for articulating concerns on issues, however grave they may be,'' he added.

A recent study has indicated that till the 11th session of the 14th Lok Sabha, 21 per cent of the parliamentary time has been lost due to disruptions. With each minute of parliamentary time costing the public exchequer to the tune of Rs 26,000, such disruptions result in the mindless wastage of tax payers money, he stated.

Mr Chatterjee stressed his demand to allow proceedings of parliamentary committees be made open to the media. He said his request before the chairmen of the committees did not get general approval earlier.

''I would request the chief whips and whips of different parties to persuade their parties and chairmen belonging, to allow media coverage of the proceedings of the committees. This will bring Parliament nearer to the people, who elect the members,'' he added.

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