The state government's recent initiative of making the Vidhan Sabha's everyday proceedings paperless seems to have evoked interest amongst other assemblies across the country.
After the Vidhan Sabha went online this monsoon session, becoming the first assembly in the country to go paperless, the secretariat has been receiving queries from neighbouring assemblies.
Speaker of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Brij Bihari Lal Butail on Wednesday said they had received inquiries from four Vidhan Sabhas: Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, which were keen to adopt the online system installed in the House.
Director of information technology in the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, Dharmesh Sharma, said the assembly had later received information from the President's Office that many other Vidhan Sabhas in the country were keen on going paperless.
Recently, a group of legislators from Punjab visited the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha to get acquainted with the online system installed in the assembly.
The E-Vidhan project, that sought to make the assembly's proceedings paperless, was inaugurated by chief minister Virbhadra Singh on August 4, which was also the 108 birth anniversary of the first chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar.
The secretariat conducted special sessions to train legislators and ministers in the new system. Under the project, touch screens were installed on the desk of legislators and press gallery.
However, the new system could not be put to use during the monsoon session, as several legislators struggled to get acquainted with it.
Following this, the Vidhan Sabha resorted to using the conventional system to conduct proceedings. However, speaker Butail announced that the assembly would go fully online during the winter session, as he claimed it would save `10 crore to `15 crore for the assembly and would also save 6000-8000 trees annually. He added, "This will be another chapter in the history of the state, as the Vidhan Sabha will become paperless," said Butail.
A Kochi-based IT company SBL had designed the system. Under the `8.2 crore E-Vidhan project, the secretariat interface will have a questions processing system to take questions from members, issue notices to departments and receive replies from them, fix dates of sittings and create a list of everyday proceedings.