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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Facebook conquers an august frontier ANANTHAKRISHNAN. G



Facebook conquers an august frontier

ANANTHAKRISHNAN. G
Balram
March 5: Hon'ble Kapil Sibal, wave the white flag and join the network.
An honourable MLA — and one of Rahul Gandhi's "Amul Babies" to boot — has posted on Facebook a private member's bill even before he introduced it in the Kerala Assembly.
Private member's bills do not have the gravitas of an official bill and are rarely passed but any document meant for the House has its own weight.
The Speaker ruled that the post by T. Balram, a Congress MLA from the northern district of Palakkad, was tantamount to breach of privilege. However, Speaker G. Karthikeyan did not take any action as Balram is a first-time MLA.
Balram, 32, was one of Rahul Gandhi's 18 nominees in the last Assembly election, of whom eight won. That gives Balram honorary membership of the "Amul Baby" club — a reference CPM leader and former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan had used to reply to Rahul's charge that he was too old.
Balram is not just an Amul Baby. He has degrees in chemistry and law, is a BTech in electrical engineering and has an MBA.
Balram told The Telegraph that his only point in posting the draft bill was to start a discussion. "Because of lack of experience, I didn't realise that uploading it on a social media platform would set off a privilege issue. I deleted the post."
His bill was aimed at setting up an authority to protect nurses and paramedical staff of private hospitals — a topical issue in the state now.
Although taken aback, Balram said something in the House that should catch the attention of Sibal who had suggested that social sites should screen their content. Sibal had said all he wanted was to block incendiary and slanderous material, though many felt the best way was to ignore it.
Balram said the government would do well to keep pace with changes in technology.
A post on Balram's Facebook page read: "What you did may be against the rules. But it is indeed laudable that a people's representative has paved the way for public discussion by posting a private bill that he wanted to introduce in the House on FB."

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