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Prestige of legislative bodies is increasingly eroding: Om Birla

By, Udaipur
Aug 22, 2023 12:59 AM IST

In the monsoon session, sparks flew between the treasury and Opposition benches no-trust motion debate. Adhir Chowdhury was suspended for unruly behaviour.

Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla on Monday said that disruptions will end when the voters start questioning the conduct of elected representatives in legislative bodies, days after the tumultuous monsoon session of Parliament ended.

Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla. (ANI)
Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla. (ANI)

Pushing for a more digitised legislature, Birla suggested that on issues that are crucial for the country or a state, lawmakers must participate with a “positive” mindset and not indulge in protests just for the sake of it.

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Inaugurating the 9th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) India Region Conference at Udaipur, Birla said the prestige of legislative bodies is being increasingly eroded due to disruptions and unparliamentary behaviour.

“We have to make the democratic institutions more accountable,” he said. “But the prestige of legislative bodies is being increasingly eroded. How can we reduce the disruptions in the House? It will happen when voters start questioning their elected representatives about their conduct in the House.”

The Lok Sabha speaker, who is supervising the creation of a new, integrated platform for Parliament and all the legislative assemblies of the country, stressed that a greater digital footprint in legislative houses can make people more aware of how their representatives are functioning.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pitched for one nation, one legislative platform. Very soon, we will get the (integrated) platform. Every person can access all issues raised in the session, the questions (posed to ministers), the budgets of all states and all the bills can be accessed,” Birla said, emphasising that the digitised proceedings would allow people from far-flung areas to watch the proceedings, enabling them to evaluate how their representative is working.

He pushed for use of more technology for better information for the public. “If RTI (right to information) activists have more information about the functioning of the Houses than us, it would be a matter of concern,” Birla said, suggesting all information about the functioning of legislative bodies should be available on the digital platform, rather than in RTI queries.

In the monsoon session, sparks flew between the treasury and Opposition benches during the debate on a no-confidence motion. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Congress, the largest opposition party, was suspended for unruly behaviour. The speaker on Monday suggested that on issues “that are important for the country or a state,” the lawmakers should take a “positive stand” to send the “right signal”.

“Some solutions should come after a debate on issues of vital importance. Lawmakers should take a positive stand to send a right signal. There can be different points of view in the debate but a solution must arrive,” he later said.

The speaker maintained that India, as the world’s largest democracy, have a “greater responsibility” to send a positive message to democratic countries. He hoped that when India celebrates 100 years of independence in 2047, “we emerge as the torchbearer of democracy.”

In the inaugural session, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot described how his regime used information technology for greater public good. “Some people refer to late PM Rajiv Gandhi’s quote that only 15 paisa in a rupee reached the ground and boast about how the DBT (direct benefit transfer) sends 100% money to beneficiaries. Today, the DBT or use of other technologies are possible thanks to Rajiv Gandhi. He started the IT revolution in India,” Gehlot said.

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