A Bill to set up the Press Council will be introduced in the next session of Parliament, said Mr. B. Gopala Reddi, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, in the Lok Sabha. Considering the various problems facing the Press, he was convinced that there was no use in delaying the constitution of the Press Council. In his reply to the demands for grants for his Ministry, Mr. Gopala Reddi said that as soon as legislation for setting up the Press Council was passed, steps would be taken to constitute it. It would go into the various aspects of the Press like, monopoly tendencies, status of the editor, and other matters as envisaged in the report of the Press Commission. He pointed out that it had been agreed generally by the members of the Congress Party, the opposition members, and the Government that the powers of the Press should not be in the hands of a few persons. But the questions connected with the functioning of the Press in the country were of a legal and constitutional nature and should be dealt with by the Press Council.
Free primary education
The plight of teachers and the problems of overcrowding in primary schools were highlighted by members during the discussion in the Lok Sabha on the Education Ministry’s demands for grants. Some members were critical of the “slow-pace” at which the Ministry was moving to promote the use of Hindi as the official language. This was, however, tempered by a general appreciation of the results of the national discipline scheme which most members wanted to be extended.
Shorter version of anthem
An 18-second abbreviation of the National Anthem is proposed to be played at the end of cinema shows in city theatres to inculcate discipline and a sense of national respect among the people. Mr. Gopala Reddy, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, told the Lok Sabha that the Home Ministry had approved of the version and to begin with it would be introduced in the city cinemas shortly. When many members suggested that the whole Anthem should be played, Mr. Reddy said in that case, people would have to stand at attention for 57 seconds.