India

Indian media: Hope and introspection as parliament term ends

India will get its 16th parliament after the upcoming general elections
Image caption India will get its 16th parliament after the upcoming general elections

Media in India are analysing the performance of MPs in parliament after their five-year term comes to an end.

The term of the 15th Lok Sabha's (lower house of the parliament) ended on Friday with MPs from all political parties congratulating each other on their performance.

Newspapers, however, have mixed feelings about the term which saw an MP using pepper spray against his colleagues during a recent heated debate on the bill to create the new state of Telangana.

"As the 15th Lok Sabha comes to an ignominious end, it is no longer possible to put off the question: are we a democracy only in name?" asks The Hindu in an editorial.

The last five years witnessed frequent disruptions in the Lok Sabha as it could approve only 177 of the 326 legislations scheduled for passage.

For the Asian Age, the 15th Lok Sabha has "statistically proved to be the worst in history in terms of passage of bills... The declining standards of behaviour of the MPs was worst exemplified by the use of a pepper spray in the house".

The Tribune's editorial says the house "lost 79% of its time to din over various issues... Gone are the days when parliament had good orators and wit, repartee and humour marked the proceedings".

During the last day of the current term, some MPs expressed concerns over the falling standards of parliament and urged their colleagues to find some time for introspection.

The Asian Age says that "the time has come for parliamentarians to work together towards restoring established practices of parliamentary democracy".

"The next parliament must walk a more ambitious, high-minded path," The Times of India concludes its analysis on a hopeful note.

Meanwhile, minister Shashi Tharoor is "not happy" with the pace of the investigation into his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death as "non-sense speculations" continue to spread, The Economic Times reports.

"It seems increasingly that a tragedy happened that is health related and not related to anything else. But we are waiting for the police investigation to get over and to see the final determination by the doctors and medical team," the paper quotes Mr Tharoor as saying in a TV interview.

Ms Pushkar was found dead at a hotel in Delhi on 17 January.

Green Metro

In a tragic case, a nine-month-old infant died soon after he was given polio drops in a village in the northern state of Rajasthan, The Times of India reports.

However, health officials have ruled out that the polio drops administered as part of the national immunisation day programme could be a reason behind the death.

"Polio drops can't cause death but may cause some side-effects, that too in rare cases," the paper quotes project director Dr RP Jain as saying.

Dr Jain added that a post mortem would be carried out to find the cause of the death.

Earlier in January, India marked three years since it last reported a polio case, a landmark in the global battle against the disease.

And finally, the Delhi Metro has decided to install solar power plants at its stations as an energy conservation effort, The Hindu reports.

"The first... 'Roof Top Solar Power Plant' is being installed at Dwarka Sector 21 metro station and is expected to be functional in six months," the paper says.

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