Legislature digitisation fails to take off: state

Legislature digitisation fails to take off: state

The e-Vidhan project, which envisages digitisation of the legislature, has been put on the backburner for so long that a budgetary provision of Rs 20 crore has lapsed.

Keen on implementing this go-green initiative, the Siddaramaiah government had made the said allocation in the 2017-18 budget. However, the project remained a non-starter.

The Legislative Assembly secretariat has blamed the union ministry of parliamentary affairs (MoPA) for the delay.

MoPA had floated the project proposal in 2016, promising 100% funding to all state legislatures. Following this, the state legislature had sought an allocation of Rs 60.84 crore (on September 1, 2016) for digitising the Assembly and Council in Bengaluru and Belagavi.

Though Karnataka was one of the states shortlisted for the project, the Ministry changed the funding pattern and slashed the allocation. It said the state could avail only 60% assistance.

Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar told DH that the Centre was yet to indicate the actual allocation to the state government. “The Rs 20 crore lapsed as we didn’t get any funds from MoPA. The Ministry had earlier said there will be 100% funding. But it has now been brought down to 60%. Though MoPA has got an allocation, it hasn’t said anything about the actual allocation to Karnataka,” he said.

Bhaskar, who has been asked by the Assembly speaker and Council chairman to coordinate with MoPA for speedy implementation of the project, said he will soon be writing to the Ministry.

“I will be writing to MoPA soon requesting them to send the allocation details and the guidelines for utilisation of the same. There has been an inordinate delay,” he added.

The state government has now decided to take steps on its own.

“There is a proposal to digitise the annual and audit reports of all departments and statutory bodies like boards, corporations, zilla panchayats and universities. These are bulky documents. By digitising these, we will be cutting down on cost of printing,” he added.

The Assembly Secretariat is in the process of writing to all the departments asking them to only send soft copies of documents. Presently, the government is spending crores of rupees on printing these documents, which are distributed to around 300 legislators (224 MLAs and 75 MLCs), various departments and the media.

The Secretariat is also encouraging the MLAs to send their questions (ahead of the sessions) via email, instead of submitting hard copies. It has been sending SMS alerts to MLAs on session details and committee meetings.