Legislators should ensure fruitful, development-oriented debates for benefit of the society: Governor Himachal Pradesh

Shimla: The 82nd All India Presiding Officers Conference (AIPOC), which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 17 November, 2021 at the Himachal Pradesh Assembly in Shimla, concluded today. Himachal Pradesh Governor, Shri Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar; Lok Sabha Speaker, Shri Om Birla; Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur; Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha Shri Harivansh; Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker, Shri Vipin Singh Parmar and other dignitaries attended the valedictory session.

Addressing the delegates, Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Rajendra Viswanath Arlekar said that the 82nd Conference of Presiding Officers is going to be a milestone for the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly as the temple of democracy has once again witnessed the historic moment after 100 years. He said that since its inception in 1921, the Conference of Presiding Officers has evolved into a vibrant and effective forum, keeping pace with the changing needs of our legislatures and the emerging dimensions of our parliamentary system . He also said that people have unwavering faith in our parliamentary and legislative bodies. It is the duty of the legislators that debates should be fruitful, and development oriented in order to benefit every section of the society. He added that to ensure a healthy debate, the role of the Presiding Officers is very important as they rise above party lines and facilitate smooth and orderly conduct of the business of the House. By doing so, Presiding Officers enable the Members to raise issues of contemporary importance within the prescribed rules and allow them to participate in the proceedings of the House in a meaningful way.

In the two day Conference, a total number of 26 Presiding Officers and 20 Secretaries of Legislatures from across the country participated and shared their valuable experiences and suggestions.

Lok Sabha Speaker, Shri Om Birla, in his valedictory remarks emphasized that Legislatures must run smoothly in the interest of development and people’s welfare. Shri Birla emphasized that the increasing trend of indiscipline, disruption, and uproar in the Legislatures, have become a matter of grave concern, and must stop. The Speaker urged the Presiding Officers to hold discussions with Leaders of political parties to ensure smooth conduct of the proceedings of the House.

Stressing that Rules and Procedures of the Legislatures should be uniform, Shri Birla said that uniform rules will help the Presiding Officers in smooth conduct of the House and to deal with indiscipline. Emphasizing on the need for establishing good traditions and practices in the Legislative Assemblies to ensure quality debates, Shri Birla called for maintaining decorum and discipline in the House. Public representatives should not compete for creating disturbance and disorder in the House, rather they should compete for bringing positive changes in the lives of the people through development and innovation, said Shri Birla.

Speaking on the role of Information Technology in the changing context, Shri Birla stressed on the need to equip legislatures with modern technology for greater efficacy. Shri Birla said that the vision of the Prime Minister for ‘One Nation, One Legislative Platform’ will be implemented within a stipulated time frame.

Shri Birla also said that a clear action plan will be prepared to increase the number of sittings of the legislatures and urged Public Representatives to ensure comprehensive discussions and dialogues by devoting maximum time to discussions on the major issues affecting the people so that the socio-economic condition of the people improves for the better. Highlighting the need for changes in the working of Parliamentary Committees in accordance with the challenges of the present times, Shri Birla said that this will strengthen the oversight role of the Parliament.

Shri Birla further said that the centenary year Conference of the Presiding Officers would be remembered as a milestone when the country will complete one hundred years of independence. Today when the nation is completing 75 years of independence, when massive developmental changes have taken place in the country, the role of legislatures has become very important in the contemporary perspective.

The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Sports and Youth Affairs, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur recalled that the Parliamentary System in India began in Shimla. He observed that when the Chair gives protection to a new Member, it encourages them to participate purposively in debates in the House. He expressed happiness that Shri Om Birla is following this tradition in encouraging new Members to speak on the floor of the House.

Speaking about disruptions in the House he said that there are scenes of commotion, tearing of papers in the House which lowers the dignity of Legislative Bodies. He emphasized on the need to improve the quality of debates and said that proper research and provision of internship programs should be considered for in this direction. He suggested that the provision to observe a Legislative Week may be explored in States in order to involve various stakeholders including students and representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the democratic process.

Shri Thakur underlined the importance of using technology to bring transparency in the proceedings of the House and to bring the benefits of development to the people at large. He also added that Legislatures must collect, collate, create and communicate important debates and other materials in order to spread awareness among young citizens and strengthen democracy across the nation.

Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Shri Harivansh hoped that the roadmap prepared during the 82nd AIPOC will continue to guide the Presiding Officers for the next one Hundred years. He said that during today’s Conference a majority of Presiding Officers felt that the Legislatures are on the threshold of a new world where it is incumbent on them to find and explore new ways to face emerging challenges and realities. Shri Harivansh emphasised that if legislators can convey the slogan of kartavya given by the hon’ble Prime Minister to the people at large it will help them to serve them better.

Speaker of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, Shri Vipin Singh Parmar, thanked Shri Om Birla for participating in the Centennial celebration of AIPOC and said that the discussions held during the 82nd conference will be written in the annals of history in golden letters. Recalling that Shri Vitthalbhai Patel had always stressed on dignity of discussions in the house, he said that all legislators should follow that tradition. Shri Parmar also recalled the contribution of former Chief ministers and Speakers of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha in taking the state of Himachal Pradesh to greater heights.

Deputy Speaker of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly, Shri Hans Raj, delivered the Vote of Thanks.

2021 is also being celebrated as the centenary year of the Conference of Presiding Officers. The conference was started in the year 1921. The 82nd All India Conference has proved to be a suitable forum for sharing new experiences and ideas to strengthen the democratic process.

On the sidelines of the Conference, an exhibition on “Journey of All India Presiding Officers’ Conference since 1921 to 2021” has been organized by the Lok Sabha Secretariat in Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly. The Exhibition portrays the one hundred year history of Presiding Officers Conferences.