Rajya Sabha has new machine to ‘guillotine’ speeches

March 12th, 2008 - 9:05 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
(From the corridors of power)

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The elders in parliament will have a new check on them when they speak in the Rajya Sabha. The upper house has introduced an automatic display board that indicates the length of time allotted to a member for his speech. The microphone will switch itself off automatically if the MP continues beyond the time scheduled. Although the system began functioning Wednesday, the frequent disruptions in the house made it a flop.

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh was allowed to speak for three minutes during zero hour. However, he could not complete a single sentence due to the pandemonium over the political clashes between the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Kerala’s Kannur district.

The machine worked perfectly and cut off Singh’s microphone after every three minutes. But the presiding officer had to keep giving fresh chances to the Samajwadi Party leader.


Parliament panel wants BlackBerry for CBI officials

The home ministry may have objection over BlackBerry services due to security reasons but a parliamentary panel has suggested that all Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers should be given BlackBerry-type mobile phones.

The ministry wants access to all communications made through a mobile device at any given time, which is not done now in the case of the BlackBerry device. The central government says it is a security threat, particularly in the current scenario where terrorist organisations are using the Internet to communicate.

But the standing committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice, which submitted its report on the working of the CBI in parliament Tuesday, says: “The investigating officers in CBI should be given latest equipments such as BlackBerry-type mobile phone which are the latest for the time being, laptop with Internet mobile connectivity and pen-drive etc. so that they are equipped with sufficient ammunition to improve their work performance and output.”


Don’t teach me what is unparliamentary, says deputy speaker

Congress MPs including some ministers took strong exception Wednesday when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) deputy leader V.K. Malhotra drew a parallel between Mughal emperor Aurangazeb (1658-1707) and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

According to Malhotra, Manmohan Singh’s remarks about the minorities could only be compared to Aurangazeb. Referring to the prime minister’s comments that the minorities had the first right on the country’s resources, the BJP leader said Manmohan Singh was the first person who made such remarks after the Mughal emperor.

The treasury benches did not find his statement funny. They protested and asked deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal to expunge it, saying it was “unparliamentary”.

However, Atwal refused to oblige the ruling party MPs. “I know what is parliamentary and what is unparliamentary,” he declared.

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