Member of India's Upper House Parliament are now equipped with tablet computers to read debates, keep up with schedules and scan vast sets of documents. The Rajya Sabha too, will soon go paperless, a green initiative that is aimed at streamlining systems and making proceedings more efficient.
MPs usually get a one-time computer allowance of Rs 1,50,000 and this has now been hiked to Rs 2,00,000. The extra Rs 50,000 is to allow them to buy either an Apple iPad or a Samsung Galaxy tab. The devices can only be ordered from the Rajya Sabha.
Samsung's 8 GB Galaxy Tab 7.1 is available to MPs for Rs 26,000 and the 32 GB iPad 2 for nearly Rs 41,000. The devices would be connected with the Internet through a wi-fi network inside the House. Owning a tablet is mandatory for all MPs, officials said.
And for MPs who find themselves technically challenged and not up-to-date with latest technology, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat is organising special know-how classes.
This will be followed by a personalised training course for the MPs on how to use special applications created by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) from where daily schedules and lists can be downloaded.
According to a Rajya Sabha circular, an e-reader-compatible software application has been developed for “easy access to daily parliamentary papers through Apple iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab devices”.
“Using this application, members shall be able to access the latest list of business, papers laid on the table of the house, latest parliamentary bulletins, questions lists, and members' birthdays on their devices,” the circular reads.
According to Sharada Subramaniam, Joint Secretary for IT in the secretariat, over 125 members from the total 245 have already bought the tablets.
Stating that the idea was to reduce paperwork, Subramaniam said, “With the touch of a button, they can read debates, do all parliamentary business.”
Many Rajya Sabha MPs