iPads for iChallenged to be iSmart

Last Updated 08 November 2011, 20:15 IST

Some MLCs are not sure whether they will be able to unleash their creativity or make their participation in legislative affairs more meaningful and fast by using the iPad, but the council secretariat has procured 75 iPad 2s for as many MLCs. Each of these tablets cost Rs 45,000 and will be distributed – free of charge, of course – to the Upper House members as well as the chairman and the deputy chairman on Wednesday.

The same day, an orientation programme will guide the MLCs on how to use this fancy tablet and its several features and apps, at the Alliance University on the City’s outskirts. Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda will personally gift away the iPads to two MLCs after he inaugurates the programme.

There is no plan afoot to equip Karnataka’s MLAs with Apple’s second generation mobile device, but sooner of later there will likely be an outcry on why they have been left out of the Assembly’s benevolence.

While a bulk of Karnataka’s legislators use high-end smartphones, they hardly use the technology for day-to-day legislative functioning. This when neither the Assembly nor the Council’s website are inter-active vis-a-vis the legislators. The Council website is not updated from time to time. It neither provides information on the proceedings of the last session nor does the Secretariat use the website to interact with its members.

Except for some members like V S Acharya, Council Chairman D H Shankarmurthy and Ganesh Karnik, the others do not use or operate email addresses. The question branch of the Secretariat has made arrangements to receive questions from the members online, but not many of them use the facility.

When Deccan Herald asked senior Karnataka Congress leader and MLCâVeeranna Mattikatti whether he has an e-mail address, he said he does have one, but did not remember ID or the password.

“My son deals with all these. Moreover, I will be touring most of the time and hence I will not be able to use the iPad,” a candid Mattikatti said.

Senior BJP leader and Dy Chairman Vimala Gowda too said she does not remember her e-mail address and that her personal assistants take care of such things.
The Legislature Secretariat had distributed Acer laptops, each costing about Rs 55,000, to both MLAs and MLCs, in 2007 as mementos on the occasion of Suvarna Karnataka celebrations. But none of the 300 legislators have used the laptops which either gather dust in their homes or are used by their sons or daughters.

The Legislature secretariat had also given Rs 50,000 in cash to each of the members of the 11th Legislative Assembly (in 1998-99) to purchase computers. Subsequently, members of the 12th Legislative Assembly, who were not the members in the 11th, were also given financial assistance to purchase computers. But many of them did not submit the bills that would have shown they had purchased the machines.
Defending the move to arm the MLCs with iPads,Council Chairman Shankaramurthy said:Many members do not know how to use modern technology. Hence, we have decided to educate them in this regard by organising a lecture demonstration on using technology during the orientation programme. I am confident that the members will start using iPad if they are taught how to use it," he said.

If necessary, Shankaramurthy said, the secretariat will organise a workshop where the MLCs and their personal assistants will be given a crash course on using the sleek device.

“We want to make the MLCs more productive. And this is possible by making them use modern technology. The devise (iPads) will enable the members to access internet and do their administrative works like sending letters to heads of departments and ministers online,” Shankaramurthy explained.


(Published 08 November 2011, 20:15 IST)

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