Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday said that information technology based Parliamentary Research and Information Support (PRISM) was launched in the Budget session of the Parliament to provide information to the MPs round the clock.

The Speaker said that he is keen to set up a similar modern research wing in the Legislative Assemblies in the states to provide round the clock support to the members.

“We are trying to compile the proceedings and debates of the Parliament as well as the state Legislative Assemblies on a single platform through NeVA (National e-Vidhan Application),” Birla said while addressing the members of the Meghalaya Assembly on his maiden visit to the hill state.

He said that progressive use of information and communication tools such as e-Parliament and e-Office in the functioning of the Parliament has significantly helped the members fulfil their obligations in an effective manner.

“I am sure that the use of virtual platforms — e-notice, Members’ Portal and other such facilities will help bridge the digital divide and create a people centric, sustainable and development oriented society. I have also made it my foremost priority in the Parliament to make women and young and newly elected MPs aware of the various parliamentary conventions and practices,” Birla said.

Claiming that India has set examples of democracy for the entire world, the Lok Sabha Speaker said that India’s representative institutions such as the Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and the local bodies are the temples of democracy, where public representatives give voice to the hopes and aspirations of the people.

He said that it is important for all the democratic institutions -­ the Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and local bodies, be it in the form of autonomous district councils or panchayats – to work in harmony so that the collective responsibility towards the people is fulfilled.

“Democracy can be strengthened only when all constitutional institutions work in tandem and cooperate with each other within their respective constitutional jurisdictions,” he said.

Birla, who is on a two-day visit to Meghalaya, said that the northeast region has immense potential and capabilities, hence this region can lead the country on the path to progress.

“Working with dedication and commitment, Meghalaya can act as a model of development and prosperity for the entire nation,” he said.

Referring to former Lok Sabha Speaker late P.A. Sangma, who hailed from Meghalaya, Birla said that Sangma made significant contributions towards strengthening parliamentary democracy and constitutional practices. “It is a matter of great pride for us. We should take inspiration from the standards set by him,” he said.

“The beauty of Meghalaya is unparalleled and it is called ‘the abode of clouds’. Meghalaya is one of the most picturesque states not only in the northeast, but in the entire country,” Birla said.

The Lok Sabha speaker on Thursday also inspected the Rs 127 crore under construction building of the new Meghalaya Assembly here.

On Friday, Birla would inaugurate the Outreach and Familiarisation Programme for the local bodies of Meghalaya and the other northeastern states.

The programme would also be attended by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, Union Minister Rameshwar Teli and other dignitaries.

The Outreach and Familiarisation Programme for the panchayati raj institutions of the country is being organised by the Parliamentary Research and Training Institute for Democracies (PRIDE) and the Lok Sabha Secretariat with a focus on enhancing participatory democracy through greater awareness of the procedures and processes followed by democratic institutions functioning at various levels from the grassroots to the apex level.

–IANS

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