Digital legislature likely to be reality next year

Digital legislature likely to be reality next year

The Centre for e-Governance is working with the National Informatics Centre for e-Vidhan. DH File Photo

If deadlines are met, by early next year, Karnataka will become the second Indian state to have a digital legislature with the implementation of e-Vidhan.

First rolled out in Himachal Pradesh in 2014, e-Vidhan enables the automation of the lawmaking process and makes legislature sessions paperless, saving hundreds of trees and public money annually. 

With Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri aggressively pushing for e-Vidhan, the e-Governance department has a set a February 2020 deadline for commissioning the project, which is estimated to cost about Rs 69 crore. 

The Speaker’s office is liaising with various government offices to prepare the ground for e-Vidhan. Such is Kageri’s push that he personally dialed up heads of departments - IAS officers - asking them to speed up the appointment of nodal officers. 

“Specific deadlines have been fixed and we’re trying to have the e-Vidhan rolled out as early as possible,” Kageri said. 

The Centre for e-Governance (CeG) is working with the National Informatics Centre for e-Vidhan in Karnataka and a dedicated team has been formed for this. “A comparison between the e-Vidhan in Himachal Pradesh and what’s required for it here shows that the only change will be the language, whereas the software application will be the same. It’s the infrastructure that needs to be designed,” a CeG official said. 

At present, the CeG team is undertaking a survey of the Vidhana Soudha premises to figure out connectivity. “We’re looking at whether we should provide wiring for the network, or go wireless. We already have the Karnataka State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) and the Secretariat Local Area Network, but it does not extend till the Assembly and Council. It must be a secure network, so we are finalizing the specifications required,” the official said. 

Authorities are also exploring technology options to ensure the heritage Vidhana Soudha building is not damaged during the e-Vidhan exercise. The CeG already has the experience of providing video conference facility to the High Court, which is also a heritage building. 

Once the e-Vidhan is rolled out, all key functions of the legislature - questions & notices, replies by the government, laying of reports and bills - will be done virtually through National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) for both web and mobile. 

The process of rolling out e-Vidhan started in 2014 when a team from Karnataka visited Himachal Pradesh to study the project.