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Published On: Sat, Aug 10th, 2019

A new parliament building under consideration, says Lok Sabha Speaker

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857785-om-birla-aniNEW DELHI : Vowing to make the Parliament paperless by the next session, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Saturday announced some new steps to facilitate effective participation of the members in the proceedings.
Addressing the media after the culmination of a “very productive” session of Lok Sabha, he said the way the Lower House functioned without disruption has once again reposed peoples’ faith in Parliamentary democracy. “An App would be developed soon for the members which will help them in accessing the Parliamentary debates since 1952. It will provide other facilities too,” he said. In pursuit of this goal, Birla said the archives of Doordarshan would also be explored.
The Speaker said the Lok Sabha Secretariat is also exploring the possibilities of providing experts to help the members for a better understanding of government business especially about different aspects of the Bills introduced in the House.
He hoped that such an arrangement would facilitate a better understanding of the background and scope of legislative proposals brought by the government on the floor of the House.Birla, an MP from Kota in Rajasthan, said Lok Sabha Secretariat would soon be made paperless so that crores of public money could be saved by decreasing the use of paper.
“Almost 80 per cent of the members have agreed to the proposal,” he said adding that the delays involved in the delivery of hardcopies to members will also be minimised with the use of electronic and digital methods.
“As part of the initiative, members will be given the option of receiving Parliamentary papers either through e-copy or hardcopy,” he said. To a question on the Opposition’s concern over passing of the Bills hurriedly by the government without proper scrutiny, Birla said since Parliamentary standing committees were not formed he provided ample opportunities to members to speak and seek clarification from the government.
He said as Speaker of the Lok Sabha, it was both a challenge and an opportunity for him to conduct the proceedings of the first session after the general election which stretched for 37 sittings and witnessed the passage of as many as 35 Bills.
“The cooperation from the Leaders of the parties and members was very heartening. Without their cooperation it was not possible,” he said, noting that a majority of first-time members were given the opportunity to speak in the first session.
Construction of a new parliament building is being considered among various options, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Saturday, adding that a final call was yet to be taken. Birla said there is a sense that a new parliament building is required. The current parliament building may also be modernised, he added.

Birla had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include the expansion and modernisation of Parliament Building in his resolution for ‘New India’, on the completion of the 75th year of India’s Independence. He also had said it is the aspirations of “all of us” that Parliament Building of the largest democracy of the world should be the most magnificent and attractive.

Talking about the just-concluded session, Birla said, “The proceeding of Lok Sabha was not adjourned even once during the session and as a result, it sat for 72 hours more than its allocated time, which is equivalent to working of 12 sittings. “If Lok Sabha functions properly and sat for longer hours, it sends out a positive message in the country,” he said.
Birla said a conference of speakers of all state assemblies will be convened soon to discuss how can the productivity of the state legislatures can be enhanced.
Discussing various initiatives taken by him for improving the functioning of the house, Birla said to update members about the bills which have been introduced in the House, the Lok Sabha secretariat will provide experts who will brief them on the technicality of the proposed legislation.
Mr Birla said a conference of speakers of all state assemblies will be convened soon to discuss how the productivity of the state legislatures can be enhanced. (With Agency Inputs ).

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