Parliament may be in a state of paralysis these days, but it has not deterred the authorities from taking a digital leap of faith. Aiming to make its office paperless and the members tech-savvy, the Lok Sabha secretariat has sanctioned Rs.50,000 for each member to buy an iPad.
"We are encouraging MPs to use iPads. This would save a lot of paper," Lok Sabha Secretary General T.K. Vishwanathan told IANS.
Officials said the MPs can buy either Apple iPads or Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tabs.
Following a decision to this effect by the Lok Sabha committee on paperless office, the lower house secretariat has also held a familiarisation drive for the MPs.
According to officials, they send daily notices, e-mails, questions and answers and details of house proceedings to the MPs in printed format.
The paper used for such communication can be saved if the MPs start checking out this information in a digital format using iPads, they said.
"It is easier to retrieve and rearrange information in a digital format," said Vishwanathan.
As part of the digital drive, the Lok Sabha secretariat has already reduced printing of many reports tabled in the House and has instead started uploading them on the official website.
"People can download this information and print it if they want," he said.
The MPs too seem to be excited about the move.
"I intend to buy an iPad," S.S. Ramasubbu, Congress MP from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, told IANS.
He has also undergone the familiarisation session organised by the secretariat recently.
To push the envelope further, Vishwanathan said he will review the progress of the paperless office drive after the winter session.
To let the members make good use of the iPads, the secretariat is also planning to make selective areas of the Lok Sabha Wi-Fi-enabled so they can access reports and even watch House proceedings live.
Sources said due to security concerns, the floor of the house and chambers where the standing committee meetings are held may not have Wi-Fi.
The upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha, is already Wi-Fi-enabled in parts, said officials.
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