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Why India’s Parliament should avoid standoffs with Twitter on unimportant issues

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An important committee of Parliament of the world’s largest democracy has got into an unnecessary controversy with Twitter over an unimportant issue.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, like its 23 other counterparts, is a forum where serious legislative business takes place. Unlike the sessions of Parliament, the unruly scenes of which we regularly see on television, parliamentary committees — with members from both Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, and from different parties — have a higher degree of decorum, efficiency and functioning.

The Parliamentary IT Committee oversees three ministries: information and broadcasting, electronics and information technology, and communications (post and telecommunications). It comprises of 21 Lok Sabha members and 10 Rajya Sabha members, and is chaired by BJP MP Anurag Singh Thakur. Over its term, this committee has reviewed the working of Prasar Bharati, the Digital India programme, setting up of the India Post Payments Bank, the functioning of TRAI, the problem of dropped calls and finally, safeguarding citizens’ rights on social media and online news platforms. Clearly, it handles weighty business concerning issues of the Information Age, and by most accounts, it has done a fairly good job of it.

So, it should concern us that it has attracted controversy over what is really a trivial matter: Whether Twitter is biased against the Right-wing. This is not an issue that the IT Committee ought to have taken up.........

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