Meghalaya Assembly urged to go for paperless

Shillong Apr 24: The initiative to reduce paper in offices will soon boost up with the Union Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs urging the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly to use the “National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA)” under the digital India programme so that the State Assembly goes fully paperless in its daily works.

To push the initiative forward, a workshop on NeVA was organized by the Union Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs for members of the State Assembly and staff of the Assembly Secretariat and officers of various departments of the state government at the Annexe Hall of the state Assembly, Rilbong on Wednesday.

The workshop was oganised in collaboration with the Meghalaya Assembly and it was inaugurated by Deputy Speaker, Timothy D. Shira in the presence of ministers and some MLAs.

Himachal Pradesh is the first digital legislature in the country.

NeVA is a Mission Mode Project under the digital India programme and the Ministry Parliamentary Affairs is the nodal ministry for its implementation in all the 31 States/UTs with legislatures. NeVA aims to bring all legislatures of the country together, in one platform thereby creating a massive data depository and it provides paperless Assembly, a concept involving electronic means to facilitate the work of Assembly.

The funding of NeVA is through the Central Sponsored Scheme at 90:10 for North East & hilly States and 100 percent for Union Territories.

Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs secretary, Surendra Nath Tripathi gave a presentation on the features of NeVA and explained about the benefits of paperless by using the available technology.

According to Tripathy, by using NeVA, all information related to the State Assembly including questions, replies and other matters transacted during Assembly sessions would be available to the public paperless.

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs officials cited how Himachal Pradesh has been able to save around Rs 5 crore in a year after the Assembly has gone paperless.

Meghalaya Assembly commissioner and secretary, Andrew Simons said that the state Assembly has already made small beginning in as far as encouraging members of the Assembly to go paperless is concerned.

“We have started to go for paperless in a small way. Some members of the Assembly have started submitting questions, notices online and from the Assembly Secretariat we processed them accordingly and forwarded to the government,” he said.

Simons said that once this application is in full use, the government too has to submit replies to questions in a digital format, and the Assembly has to coordinate with various government departments.

The state NIC, Assembly Secretariat and government departments have to collaborate in shifting towards reducing the use of paper in office works.

On many legislators yet to familiarize to technology as well as make use of mobile tablets or laptops in the House during Assembly sessions, Simons said that legislators would have to familiarize themselves with the application (NeVA) but it would not be easy for all of them, because not all legislators are tech-savvy.

Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma is one among the tech-savvy legislators in Meghalaya. He has been using his mobile tablet during the Assembly sessions and noted down points, queries or suggestions given by members in the House.

Simons said that on an average, the Assembly Secretariat spent around Rs 10 lakh for printing documents for one Assembly session especially budget session which have more working days.