New Parliament may help MPs work remotely with tech upgrades

Updated on Oct 08, 2022 05:04 AM IST

The building, which is expected to function from the upcoming winter session of the House, will also provide easier access to resources and materials to both members and citizens, officials familiar with the matter said.

A view of the bronze National Emblem cast on the roof of the new Parliament Building, in New Delhi, India, on Monday, July 11, 2022. (Photo by Amal KS/Hindustan Times)
A view of the bronze National Emblem cast on the roof of the new Parliament Building, in New Delhi, India, on Monday, July 11, 2022. (Photo by Amal KS/Hindustan Times)
By, Deeksha Bhardwaj, New Delhi

The new “smart” Parliament building, being constructed under the Central Vista redevelopment plan, is set to leverage artificial intelligence with a number of technological upgrades and tablet computers for every lawmaker under the Digital Sansad Project, officials familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The building, which is expected to function from the upcoming winter session of the House, will also provide easier access to resources and materials to both members and citizens, they added.

“The new Parliament building will come with a number of upgrades under the Digital Sansad Project,” a government official said on the condition of anonymity. “The project will upgrade Parliamentary access for MPs and citizens.”

The Digital Sansad is a project to introduce latest technology and digital tools in Parliament.

Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla has been regularly reviewing the Digital Sansad Project with parliamentary officials and officials in the ministry of electronics and information technology, and some features of the “smart” Parliament, such as creation of an all-inclusive parliamentary portal is one of his ideas.

According to a note on the project, “the upcoming new building of Parliament… is being designed with a futuristic vision and proposes to cater to the new age aspirations of the country and Parliament”.

“The ICT (information and communications technology) systems and applications are also suitably (being) enhanced to achieve the vision of transforming this apex institution into a ‘Smart Parliament’, with the rolling out of new IT systems for complete digitization of the legislative processes,” the note, a copy of which HT has seen, said.

Parliament is working on systems that are “device-agnostic” and will facilitate the concept of “Work from Anywhere (WAW)”, the note said.

“It would also require the development of an integrated platform and database to bring all stakeholders – Members of Parliament, Committees, Legislative Parties, Citizens, Secretariat and various Government Ministries/ Departments — on a unified digital platform for user friendly, seamless and efficient operations with almost negligible use of paper in tune with the motto of Digital India,” it said.

Among several upcoming projects is a single portal for Parliament that will provide quicker information and faster access to archives.

“The idea is that during the proceedings of the House, whatever an MP requires to deliver a speech, search precedents or get quick background notes on the subject, everything will be available on the site. And he can access that on the tablet computer at his seat,” a senior parliamentary official said on condition of anonymity.

Other projects include the creation of a digital sansad app and live streaming of all proceedings.

“Over the years, the Indian Parliament has seen many technological upgrades and use of digital mediums. But some of the projects were done on a piecemeal basis. The Indian Parliament will now see a holistic approach. It will make it easier for MPs to perform their duties and also make Parliament accessible to common people,” the senior official said.

The government is also considering building a system to allow parliamentarians to vote remotely, while ensuring the security and integrity of the vote, the first official said.

“A system is being developed, if the parliamentarians agree to its use, then perhaps voting remotely may also be an option,” the official said.

A third official pointed out that such a system would require change of rules of the two Houses.

Another project seeks to develop an advanced language processing engine for translation of Parliament website. “Parliament is taking initiative for translation of the online content of website and mobile application in 22 regional languages as per schedule 8 of Indian Constitution – for example - Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese etc,” the note said.

There will be an artificial intelligence-based speech to text conversion engine to create a transcript of Parliament proceedings in real-time. “During the parliamentary sessions, a transcript of Parliament debates is created that contains proceedings in English and Hindi as they take place in the House. The transcript is created by the reporting branch of the Secretariat,” the note said.

“…the Parliament is in the process to leverage technology to create a continual evolving intelligent Speech-to-Text system which in near real time can create an accurate transcript of the proceedings of the house using an audio feed of the proceedings and can cater to the diversity that Members of Parliament bring in terms of geographies (and) accents.”

Automatic indexing and tagging of audio-video files is also being explored for better searchability. The video tagging would enable a user to search (with timestamp) a video based on any specific word or phrase that appears in the video, according to the note.

An interactive mobile application is in the works as well. MPs will be able to access confidential files, schedule meetings, check Parliament schedules, legislative bills, and even newspapers on the application.

Birla has asked for a virtual tour of the old and new Parliament building for common people, with additional interactive features such as quizzes, photo filters, and the option to wish your MP on his/her birthday.

Overtime, the application is also slated to cover legislative assemblies.

“Under this project, Digital Sansad App is poised to be a National Grid where the app will enable access not only to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha but also to all state legislative assemblies in a phased manner,” the note said.

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, February 01, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals