“No disruptions in the Parliament. Mandatory Attendance – linked to pay of MPs No more Hugs No More Money wastage One Shot – Many birds”
According to highly placed sources in the government (read Sakshi Maharaj) Narendra Modi’s digital push will be expanded to the least expected territory i.e., politics. Well, it is not about the political parties using digital tools to enhance their images or to settle political scores in the virtual world. Mother of all institutions, Indian Parliament would be taking a deep plunge into the Digital Ocean. And this change, Modi government believes will be the biggest project of Digital India.
The Digital App released by the Vice President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Venkaiah Naidu requesting RS members to use it to submit notices for discussion is the first in a series of initiatives that would unfold in the coming months.
Once the ‘Ankiya Sansad’ (Hindi for Digital Parliament), the project is over, the government expects savings of many crores that is now wasted for the parliament proceedings that are often disrupted. The direct savings are expected to be in the tune of thousands of crores per year. Of course, there are a hoard of other intangible benefits to the ruling party that comes with such an advantage.
At the core of Ankiya Sansad is the virtual debate rooms. The Speaker would be acting as the Admin for this digital conference that would be similar to a video conference. It is said that Nilekani is entrusted with the responsibility of execution. New consoles specially designed for this project are being made in (where else?) China. The necessary cellular support would be provided by JIO, free of cost. (The only thing Ambani owned service provider gets out of this deal is that they will have exclusive advertisement facilities during walkout breaks. If any member wants to walk out, all he or she has to do was to press a button and watch some ads instead of the boring face of the speaker)
When the dates of parliament proceedings are declared, all members are expected to sit before video consoles for the entire duration of the debates. The face recognition capability built-in the console calculates the duration of member sitting before it to calculate his wages for participating in proceedings. Walk-outs means the remuneration is cut thus effectively discouraging members from leaving while the discussion is on.
As the controls of the conference are with the speaker, there will not be any disruptions of speeches and thus new system is expected to increase quantity of discussion, if not quality. Time allotted to each party would depend on the strength of its members in the parliament to reflect the actual democratic norms. Once time is over, immediately the console goes into view mode from transmit mode.
For the media outlets, all records of proceedings (videos/photos/audios) be made available by Prasar Bharti, but for a price. Prices are yet to be decided for this. This is only to ensure that the state run television channels would turn into profit – at the cost of private media houses that are often at loggerheads with ruling parties.
Though it cannot be confirmed, even the Congress leadership has consented for this proposal hoping they would come into power by the time Ankiya Sansad becomes practical.
Many opposition leaders are not happy with this arrangement and they feel this is a sure way to make Indian politics a bi-party affair. Especially miffed is Arvind Kejriwal, who is planning to hire some hackers from Canada (where AAP’s overseas wing is active) to provide him an override ‘Dharna’ button. It is expected that once the ‘Dharna’ button is pressed, all screens would projecting four images of Kejriwal (sleeping on the road, sleeping in the sofa, drinking Corex, in the Wagon R) alternately on all the screens once in every five minutes.
What caused the government to go for this decision? While Arnab Go-Swamy thought it was the photo of Chandrababu Naidu’s cabinet meeting that inspired Prime Minister to consider Ankiya Sansad, Sagar-ka-Ghost considered this was a plan to prevent Rahul Gandhi from hugging BJP members. “The intentions of the government is not to maintain any physical contact with any Congress members and reeks of bigotry”, she said flaring her nose.
Why Congress has accepted the suggestion in the first place? It was Shashi Tharoor’s turn to explain. “It was only to prevent any potential gaffes by Shri Rahul Gandhi in the future. Digital Grandfather of Congress, Shyam Pitroda was developing a digital twin for Rahul Gandhi, a robot that would be used to participate in the debates of ‘Ankiya Sansad’. With all the latest news feed and leveraging artificial intelligence, we expect the Robo Pappu to be better and smarter than Modi”.
And thus, the digital push in India reaches crescendo.