‘Smart’ legislator probably made soon; 21 states ready for this scheme

New Delhi: Not only is a new Parliament complex coming up, but the way Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and State Assemblies will function is about to change soon.

‘Paperless’ functioning, a ‘smart’ desk for MLAs with a tablet, real-time translation of speeches across languages, all legislative documents and reports in one touch – these are the major missions on which ‘e-Parliament’ is to bring The work is being done’ and the ‘smart’ legislator.

21 states have agreed to join the concept of ‘one-nation-one-application’ through the National e-Vidhan Application (NEVA) and many have signed MoUs for the same, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs said recently. Recently informed a parliamentary panel.

The ministry told the panel that the Neva team has completed the development of the new module which will address most of the areas related to the day-to-day functioning of both the Houses and is refining them.

NeVA will bring all legislatures on a single platform, creating a single, comprehensive data depository allowing electronic flow of information, electronic placement of documents in the House and ‘paperless’ exchange of information among stakeholders.

This will not only enable transparent information flow but also enable data analysis and comparative analysis across assemblies. It is estimated that Neva, with its one-touch access and device agnostic approach, can replace over 100 IT applications/systems running in legislatures and foolproof it with NIC supported systems.

The Management Committee on Information and Communication Technology in the Rajya Sabha visited Imphal, Guwahati, Shillong, Chennai, Hyderabad and Goa between April and July to assess NEVA implementation in the state legislatures and to realize the ‘dream e-parliament’. can be helped.

The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly has already installed tablet devices with provisions for electronic voting at each member’s seat. All agenda, member details, party status, proceedings of the house, summary etc. are made available electronically through the device. The state’s 2021 budget was completely ‘paperless’ and circulated to members in soft copy on tablets. The state has sought more funding to upgrade the system and the panel supported it.

Telangana has shown great interest and with the shift to the new assembly building, NEVA will constitute a committee of MLAs to examine all aspects of onboarding. Goa has been working with its own e-assembly module since 2014 and would love to be a part of NEVA – efforts are on to find common ground.

Manipur is in the process of procuring the assembly hardware, while Assam is constructing a new assembly building with 90% funding from the Center to achieve the vision of a ‘Digital House’.

The key to a pan-India ‘smart legislature’ is real-time translation.

The ministry is looking at software like Google Translate, discussing options with Microsoft, even the MeitY-run CDAC, an automated speech recognition based on artificial intelligence for use in machine translation and interpretation in regional languages. Working closely on the system, specifically voice-to-text and voice-to-voice translation. However, CDAC has pointed out that diversity in language dialects complicates effecting real-time translation.

The panel has also reminded the need to keep the federal structure in mind and noted that many legislators come from backward regions and have limited technology knowledge. It has advised that all legislators should be familiarized with the new system through awareness and training programmes/sessions.

BSNL has been asked to redouble its efforts to ensure high speed broadband facilities. Despite the challenges, the panel is clear. The panel, headed by Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchi Siva, said, “Technical interventions should ensure the transformation of the Indian Parliament into a smart parliament.”