Lok Sabha took an important step towards paperless proceedings

New Delhi: According to officials familiar with the matter, Parliament took an important step last year to try and make better use of digital tools, with paper consumption coming down to a third of 2015 levels.

Lok Sabha used 21,723 papers in 2015, one of the officials cited above asked for anonymity. That was the year when officials decided to move toward being more eco-friendly, and concerted efforts began to cut down on the paper.

In 2021, the lower house used only 8,374 papers for the entire year, a decrease of 61%.

An official of the Lok Sabha Secretariat said the drive to reduce paper consumption gained momentum after Om Birla took charge as the Speaker. He emphasized on new online platforms that MPs can use to do business related to the House, and took regular stock of digitization of various administrative and operational processes.

In January, Birla introduced the Digital Parliament App, which offers a 360-degree view of legislative activities and services for MPs, and helps them send questions and notices digitally.

“Gone are the days when an MP had to give written notice to the Table Office for moving a question or motion. Now, he can do it from anywhere through the app or portal,” the official quoted above.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat got rid of 79,236 kg of waste paper in a 12-month period starting October 2020, as it removed tons of files, old publications and other documents, another official said. “The increase in the accumulation of waste paper was due to the special drive to weed out old and obsolete records and files,” the official said.

In 2019 Lok Sabha also introduced online tracking system for notices and bills and in the same year launched 24X7 helpline for members. The supply of bulletins, lists of questions for Question Hour, and copies of budget documents or bills have also been halted, prompting lawmakers to look them up online.