Karnataka’s paperless assembly dreams hit heritage block

Setting up ‘e-Vidhaan’ at Vidhana Soudha will first require an expert study

Published: 10th September 2019 06:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th September 2019 06:22 AM   |  A+A-

GOING PAPERLESS: If the ‘e-Vidhaan’ system is implemented, rooms in the Vidhana Soudha, which are now stacked to the ceiling with papers and documents, will have a lot more free space (Photo | EPS, NAGARAJA GADEKAL)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The state government, which was looking forward to having a paperless process in place for assembly sessions at the Vidhana Soudha, is now facing a peculiar problem. While the technology to implement the ‘e-Vidhaan’ system is certainly available, the permission to implement it in the
Vidhana Soudha, a heritage building, is not.

During the first week of August, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla had announced during a session of Parliament, that a proposal to make assembly sessions paperless had been discussed at a recent Speakers meet, where 30 Speakers of various assembly houses around the country had participated.In Karnataka, the government decided to entrust this effort to the Department of e-governance. But now, they have decided to approach heritage experts to overcome the hurdle as the Speaker of the assembly is keen on doing away with paperwork to save the precious commodity.

During sessions, apart from the daily agendas, there are copies of questions, answers and other documents distributed to the legislators, staff and even the media.But the e-governance department does not have an easy task in front of it. Sources pointed out that installing wiring in a heritage structure would be a challenging task.

“This is why connectivity is difficult. We just cannot start installing wiring like in other buildings. This will need further study by an expert consultant on the kind of wiring which could be put in place, while keeping the building intact. Only after  they give a feasibility report can the tenders be called for,” an official said.

Once in place the ‘e-Vidhaan’ initiative will enable debates, questions and sessions to be recorded electronically and also be made available online. A software programme, for legislators and legislative council members, will be developed and installed on to their gadgets for usage.

Replies to questions will be sent through mails.Currently, the Himachal Pradesh assembly is the first and the only state in India to have a similar system in place.A team from Karnataka had even visited the state to study the system and the then speaker K B Koliwad had announced the implementation of the ‘e-Vidhaan’ system.Karnataka’s seat of power, the Vidhana Soudha building was completed in 1956 after the foundation stone was laid in 1951. It was built to dwarf the British-built High Court complex.

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