Assam Assembly all set to get digital Next Budget in e-mode sans papers


GUWAHATI, Dec 15: Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA) is all set to go paperless by going digital. And, in doing so, will perhaps become the country’s first State Legislature to achieve this distinction. The ball has already been set rolling with a slew of initiatives in this regard. 
To begin with, the next fiscal’s Budget (2018-19) will be in e-mode. The Fince department has already communicated with the Assembly Secretariat in this regard.
In a letter to the ALA Principal Secretary recently, Additiol Chief Secretary Fince has urged for amendment in relevant rules and conduct of business in the Assembly to “facilitate laying of e-Budget on the table of the House”. 
As part of the plan, each legislator will be provided a tablet that will have the e-budget. Budget generally has two components – Fince Minister’s speech and detail department-wise break-up of allocation. And both the components will be loaded onto the tablets.
Further, since all MLAs may not be well conversant in using a tablet, an orientation programme will be held to familiarise them with its usage prior to the Budget session, which is likely to be scheduled in January-end, sources said. 
During discussion and cut motion on the Budget, the legislators will be able to access the tablets inside the House. 
Meanwhile, the Rules Committee, which is headed by Speaker Hitendra th Goswami, held a meeting on Friday to discuss amendment of rules to facilitate laying of the e-Budget in ALA. The committee in principle has accepted to amend the rules, sources added.
Budgets have so far been presented in ALA, as with any other State Assembly or Parliament, in hard copies and were voluminous. 
On the other hand, an expert committee will be formed by the ALA Secretariat to consider use of other electronic devices by the MLAs inside the House during its proceedings. Currently, the legislators are barred from using electronic gadgets inside the House. This followed a controversial sharing of live proceedings of the Assembly on Facebook by a legislator some time back.
And as a new Assembly building is nearing completion, another expert committee has been formed to consider paper-less proceedings by setting up a permanent kiosk with smart electronic devices before each seat of a legislator complete with touch-screens and other electronic gadgets in the new complex. The new Assembly building is expected to be completed by 2018-end.

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