Digital depository of House papers far cry from reality

Making information accessible on the internet may be a goal of the government but the Lok Sabha Secretariat’s efforts to develop a digital depository of Parliamentary papers has not gathered pace.

Since its inception in January 2013, the project is yet to gather pace due to delays in submitting documents by ministries and departments.

The slow pace adopted by the ministries and departments goes against the government's mission to go paper-less in its efforts to save the environment.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat had in January last year written to ministries and departments asking them to provide e-copies of all documents laid by them in Parliament from the budget session beginning February on a regular basis. The secretariat was aiming to develop a digital depository for MPs and others under its Library wing.

However, officials said, ministries and departments were not enthusiastic in providing the digital copies of the papers laid in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat has now shot off a letter to various ministries and departments, including the Union Home Ministry, to provide the documents immediately.

“Since it has been observed that number of such documents being received is very less, you are requested to ensure that soft copy (CDs) of each and every document laid on the table of both the Houses by your ministry till winter session 2013 along with the dates of laying is made available to us immediately for the use of Members of Parliament,” Meena Mall, director in the Lok Sabha Secretariat, said in a letter dated January 8.

Following the missive, the Home Ministry has now asked all its departments to provide a soft copy of “each and every” document  tabled in Parliament from the 2013 Budget Session.

In its efforts to go green, Parliament has been striving to go paper-less and has provided MPs with tablets and computers. Even the Central Hall and lobby in the Parliament House complex have wi-fi, allowing Parliamentarians to access the internet.

A senior official said Parliament has taken several green initiatives, including installation of solar panels.

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