Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday expressed confidence that Parliament's session in 2022, when Indian will celebrate its 75th year of independence, will be held in a new building. "We are working to have our session in a new Parliament building when we celebrate 75 years of independence. I am hopeful that it will be completed by 2022," Birla told reporters. He was addressing a press conference in New Delhi following the end of the Winter Session.
When asked about the venue of the proposed building, Speaker Om Birla said two-three places are being explored by the government. The new Parliament will have various technological features, including MPs having access to online information at their desks, he said. He also announced that the practice of serving subsidised food and beverages would be discontinued, saying, "You may not get subsidised tea in the next session."
Birla also informed that the Parliament has now made debates and discussions, including those held during the British rule, up to 1858, available to the public over the internet. Highlighting some milestones of this session, he said for the first time since 1972 all 20 starred questions were answered by ministers concerned on one day during the Question Hour. It had never happened earlier as there used to be 30 starred questions before 1972 when they were reduced to 20, he said.
Lok Sabha Secretariat also sent 337 MPs over 3,700 video clips which were recordings of their interventions in the House during Zero Hour and some other proceedings. It was a short but productive session, Birla said, noting that its productivity was over 115% in Lok Sabha. Birla said he is working with speakers of state assemblies in an effort to develop a standard procedure guiding their work and spoke about concerns over reducing the number of working days in state legislatures. When asked about the vacancy of the post of deputy-speaker, Birla said the decision lies with the Centre.
(With PTI inputs)