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House fare for all homes

New Delhi, Dec. 5: The entire country can watch live proceedings of Parliament on two exclusive Doordarshan channels from December 13.

The move, described as revolutionary by Parliament sources, was the culmination of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's efforts to extend 'the visitors' gallery to every home in the country'.

Doordarshan now only telecasts live question hour from 11am to noon. Zero hour, which begins at noon, is also telecast but can only be watched by viewers residing within 12 km of Parliament as Doordarshan had been unable to procure a high-powered transmitter.

The sources said Doordarshan and Prasar Bharti officials are now working overtime to launch the new satellite channels on December 13.

The channels, DD-LS and DD-RS, can be viewed through cable even in remote places like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep Islands, said the sources.

Chatterjee has been striving to enforce transparency and discipline in the business of the House. The sources said he was concerned that only a few in Delhi could watch the live telecast of the proceedings of zero hour while some could watch them from the visitors' gallery. With the proposed live telecast, viewers can now watch the proceedings at home from 11 am till the end of the session.

The live telecast of the entire proceedings will ensure better attendance ' especially in the second half when the House is generally half-empty, better behaviour and the MPs preparing better, which will enhance the quality of debate.

On December 1, Doordarshan had scrapped the telecast of question hour to air the India-South Africa cricket Test match, much to the annoyance of the Speaker.

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