Winter session in new Parliament, cut cost by 27% in 3-yr: Om Birla


Photo Credit Twitter Om Birla

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, June 19: The Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, who completed three years in office today, said that there has been a net savings of 27 per cent in the expenditure during his tenure, amounting to Rs 668.86 crores.

Birla also said that the construction works of the new Parliament would be completed by October this year.

“The Winter session of Parliament may be held in the new Parliament,” added Birla.

The savings in the expenditure of the Lok Sabha have been accounted for by the digital push, cutting down on expenses on flowers and “unnecessary” utilities.

The Lok Sabha secretariat has fully gone digital, and the questions asked by the members of Parliament, Budget copies, etc., are no more printed.

However, it must be added that half of the tenure of Birla has overlapped with the Covid-19 pandemic during which restrictive access to the Parliament premises has been in-force.

Former MPs, staff members of the current MPs and others have not been allowed to come to the Parliament premises since the onset of the pandemic. The restrictions have not yet been lifted.

Even the media access to the Parliament has been restricted, with only a select few being allowed to cover the proceedings of the Lok Sabha. This measure has been strongly protested by the media, including the Press Club of India.

“Since assuming office of Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Birla has given utmost importance to financial management. Steps such as eliminating avoidable expenditure, reducing the use of paper, increased use of technology and procurement through GeM portal for all purchases have played an important role in financial savings,” said the Lok Sabha secretariat in an official statement.

It has also been stated that the savings amounted to Rs 151.08 crore in the budget allocated in the first year of the 17th Lok Sabha in 2019-20, Rs 251.31 crore in 2020-21 and Rs 258.47 crore in 2021-22.

During the 16th Lok Sabha when Sumitra Mahajan was the Speaker, savings of Rs 461 crores were recorded.

Birla also said that work on the new Parliament building is progressing as per schedule.

“As per the current pace of progress, the construction work will be completed by October this year. After holding necessary trials, the Winter session of Parliament this year is likely to be held in the new building,” he added.

The new Parliament building would be a green building equipped with necessary facilities for environmental and energy conservation. It will have a seating capacity of 888 members in the Lok Sabha Chamber, and during joint sessions of both Houses, 1272 Members can be seated. The Rajya Sabha Chamber will have a seating arrangement of 384 members.

The new Parliament building is being made techno-friendly for MPs. Members’ Desks will be equipped with multimedia screen through which they will be able to vote in the House, register attendance and request for an opportunity to speak in the House.

“They will be able to access the MP Portal through the touch screen available in it. Apart from this, they will also be able to access the documents uploaded earlier in their personal folders,” said the Lok Sabha secretariat.

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