Decline in Level of Discussion in Legislatures is a Matter of Concern : LS Speaker Om Birla

Gandhinagar; 15 February : Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla inaugurated Orientation Programme for Members of Gujarat Legislative Assembly at Gandhinagar, today.

Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel; Speaker of Gujarat Legislative Assembly, Shri Shankar Chaudhary and several other dignitaries graced the event.

On this occasion, Shri Birla said that the 15th Legislative Assembly of Gujarat is a unique combination of youth and experience. The Speaker also expressed happiness mentioning that 82 Members have been newly elected to the Assembly and 15 women have been elected out of which 8 are first time Members.

Mentioning the role of elected representatives, Shri Birla noted that they have a huge responsibility as their electorates look to them to address their issues. That’s why legislatures should be the center of discussion and dialogue and the level of discussion should be of highest standard. The higher the level of discussion and dialogue in the State Legislative Assemblies, the better the laws will be made, Shri Birla added. In order to have a productive discussion in the House, it is necessary that Members are aware of rules and procedures. That’s why the House should become an effective center of discussion and dialogue so that our democracy becomes stronger, emphasized Shri Birla.

Referring to the role of Presiding Officers, Shri Birla noted that it is the responsibility of Presiding to work for enhancing the prestige of the House. The decline in the level of discussion in the Houses and the decline in dignity of the House is a matter of concern for us. An excellent legislator is the one who participates in excellent quality discussions and dialogues and enhances prestige of the House. Members should put forth their points with facts as arguments based on baseless allegations only weaken democracy.

Speaking on the role of Opposition in democracy, Shri Birla observed that it should be positive, constructive and in the direction of ensuring accountability in governance. But, the way in which the tradition of adjourning the Houses is being created by disrupting the Houses in a planned manner is not appropriate for democracy. There should be discussion, debate, dissent in the House, but there should never be a deadlock in the house. He urged the Members to read the rules and procedures in the House and past debates. The more the Members will acquaint themselves with rules, procedures and past debates, the more enriching their speeches will be, said Shri Birla. No one can be a best legislator by shouting slogans and disrupting the Assembly proceedings, noted Shri Birla.

Mentioning about ‘One Nation, One Digital Platforms’, Shri Birla said that the work is on as per the vision of the Prime Minister so that debates and discussions in all State legislatures and laws passed by them can be brought on one single platform. In this context, Shri Birla emphasized on using technology and strengthening research to improve efficiency of legislatures.

Speaking on India’s G-20 Presidency, Shri Birla said that this is a historic occasion to showcase India’s rich democratic tradition and cultural legacy.

Later, Shri Birla interacted with media persons at Gandhinagar.

Speaking on this occasion, the Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel said that Gujarat has been developed as a model state and growth engine of the country. When development issues are discussed in any State or legislature, they look up to Gujarat as the model, added Shri Patel. Mentioning about duties of people’s representatives, Shri Patel said that it is the duty of the people’s representative to maintain the sanctity and dignity of the legislatures which are temples of democracy.

Speaking on the objectives of the Orientation Programme, Shri Patel noted that the programme has been organized to give detailed knowledge of the parliamentary democratic system, procedures and rules to the elected public representatives which is commendable. He further said that by taking advantage of this programme, legislators will be able to effectively participate in the House. The Chief Minister urged the Members to participate in Janakalyan-Prajahit decisions by common consensus for welfare of the people. He expressed hope that the discussions and conclusions of the two-day programme would be beneficial for the will be beneficial to the Members and the Members will ensure, through their functioning, that the highest values of parliamentary democracy are further strengthened.

Delivering the welcome address at the inaugural ceremony, Gujarat Vidhan Sabha Speaker Shri Shankarbhai Chowdhary said that the public representatives must be familiar with parliamentary rules and proceedings and they must live up to the aspirations of the people by performing their duties efficiently. He added that this Orientation Programme has been organized in order to fulfill this need. Shri Chowdhary said that various aspects of parliamentary procedure can be better understood through experience and therefore an Orientation Programme has been organized. Welcoming this initiative, the Shri Chowdhary expressed gratitude to Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla for inaugurating the Orientation Program. Welcoming the gathered public representatives, he said that during the two day Program, about 10 sessions will be organized on various topics by experienced experts. He requested all public representatives to make efforts to learn and understand parliamentary traditions by attending these sessions.

Deputy Speaker of Gujarat Legislative Assembly Shri Jethabhai Bharwad delivered Vote of Thanks.

As part of the orientation programme, the Members of Gujarat Legislative Assembly will be given training on ‘How to be an Effective Legislator?’; ‘Committee System and Parliamentary Questions’ ; ‘Budgetary Process’; ‘Legislative Process’; ‘India’s Presidency in G-20’; ‘Procedural Devices to Raise Matters of Urgent Public Importance in the House’ ; ‘Functioning of a Legislature: Do’s and Don’ts’ ; ‘Parliamentary Privileges and Ethics’; and ‘Importance of Constitutional Bodies in a Democracy’.

The two day Orientation programme will conclude on 16 February, 2023 with Valedictory Address by Governor of Gujarat, Shri Acharya Devvrat.

The Orientation Programme for the Members of Gujarat Legislature is being organised by Parliamentary Research and Training Institute for Democracies (PRIDE), Lok Sabha Secretariat in coordination with Gujarat Legislative Assembly Secretariat.