GUWAHATI: Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA) Hitendra Nath Goswami has said that a wing of the Speaker's Research Initiative (SRI) could not be established in the State due to the lack of required support from the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
SRI is the brainchild of the then Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. It was inaugurated on July 23, 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It seeks to assist the Members of Parliament (MPs) in playing a more effective role in law-making, Parliamentary debates, oversight of governance and also respond to the ever-increasing, ever more complex issues of national and international importance. This organ of the Lok Sabha works under the guidance and supervision of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. At present, the SRI has nine members. Each of them is an acknowledged expert in his or her field. It is served by a dedicated administrative team of the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
"In 2017, a decision was taken to establish a wing of SRI in Guwahati. We had organized a meeting in Guwahati on October 27, 2017 where representatives from the Lok Sabha Secretariat also took part and presented their views on the subject. Further we were assured in the meeting that the Lok Sabha Secretariat will give us all the assistance including deployment of experienced persons in the 'North East Region Institute of Parliamentary Studies and Research' (NERIPSTR) to start activities of the 'Speaker's Initiative Programme of Lok Sabha', as well as, to train the Assembly staff and MLAs of our region on different aspects of Parliamentary activities at NERIPSTR instead of in New Delhi — which is the usual procedure," said Goswami.
Delivering the welcome speech at the special joint meeting of the 'Executive Committee of Conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association' (CPA), India Region Zone-III, and the Executive Council of NERIPSTR here on Monday morning, Speaker Goswami said that initially Assam was very optimistic to start the activities of SRI under guidance of the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
"All the NE States will be benefitted and all Assembly secretariats will be able to train their employees with less financial involvement. Such activities will also make the NERIPSTR more vibrant and the purpose of establishing the institute will be fulfilled," said Goswami, adding that Rs 4 crore has been spent to revamp and refurbish the NERIPSTR to start the SRI activities.
Goswami also said that unfortunately they did not get much support from the Lok Sabha Secretariat with respect to the required manpower and financial assistance. He also said that the Lok Sabha Secretariat could not depute experienced persons to the NERIPSTR as promised in the 17th conference of CPA India Region Zone-III held in Guwahati. The conference was attended by the then Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and a good number of officials from New Delhi. "I sincerely hope that my successor will take much interest on the matter and will do the rest," added Goswami.
During the Tuesday's conference, Goswami — who is also the Chairman of the CPA India Region Zone-III — handed over his charge to the next Chairman P.D. Sona, Speaker of Arunachal Pradesh.