CHENNAI: In tune with the changing times, the State Assembly will go paperless in the days to come.
Once the Union Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs’ e-Vidhan project is completed, almost all functions of the Assembly will be changed to electronic mode, doing away with the decades-old practice of tabling written replies, reports, bills and documents to MLAs.
In the first phase, the Secretariat is planning to do away with the tabling of papers such as annual reports of government undertakings, accountant-general’s audit reports, performance budgets, etc. from January 2018. These reports will be in PDF format, which members can view on the tablets or touchscreens. Each member will have an ID and a password.
Rajiv Yadav, secretary of Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, reviewed the progress made in the e-Vidhan project in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, on September 22. So far, around 12 internal meetings in this regard have been conducted.
Talking to Express, K Boopathy, Assembly secretary and N Ravichandran, joint secretary and nodal officer for the e-Vidhan Project in the State, said the project had the backing of Edappadi K Palaniswami and Speaker Dhanapal, as expenses incurred on paper, printing, postage and transport of reports etc. would be cut through this measure. Both have been reviewing the project very often.
The Assembly secretary said the Himachal Pradesh Assembly was the first to go paperless in 2014. Since then, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had implemented this.
Ravichandran said detailed report about the functional requirements of the Tamil Nadu Assembly Secretariat would be submitted to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. There are 32 sections in the State Assembly. Based on the requirement of each section, a collective software would be developed with the help of the National Informatics Centre. The software package would include a mobile app for the MLAs.
Explaining how the electronic mode would be put into work, Ravichandran said, “For example, if a member wishes to raise a question, first he has to send it in a written form and it has to be cleared by the Speaker and it has to go to department concerned for getting an appropriate answer from the officials and again it has to return to the Speaker’s office. So far, all these works are being done on paper. Once the e-Vidhan project is introduced, all these will go online. That is, the Assembly and government departments can communicate electronically.”
Though several State legislatures had computerised functions, the e-Vidhan projects aimed at bringing in a uniform, standard and systematic implementation across all State legislature.
This requires a single common multi-lingual web and mobile-generic application with local add-ons and disabled-friendly features by incorporating the best practices adopted across the country so as to bring all State legislatures at par and also to provide e-services to its members.