Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla inaugurated the 19th Annual Zone III Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) India Region in Gangtok, Sikkim today.
On this occasion, Birla observed that it is the biggest strength of democracy. He added that the legislature, as a forum to solve people's problems, must be a centre of unhindered debate sans disruption which will increase people's faith in democratic institutions, thereby strengthening our democracy.
Speaking on the subject of making Parliament and Legislatures more accessible to the public/citizens, Birla said that the manner in which active participation between legislatures and the public has increased through the use of IT is remarkable, but we have to play a more active role.
Referring to Digital Parliament, Birla said that the work of the legislature is being taken to the public with the help of technology, and social media has also emerged as an important tool for interaction. He called for greater participation of people in the law-making process so that laws can be made as per the hopes and aspirations of people.
Speaking on the economic potential of the North Eastern states, Birla said that there are huge possibilities in the field of tourism, renewable energy, organic farming and handicrafts. He suggested that a strategy should be conceptualized in order to link the skills of the people of the North Eastern region with the national and global market to make sure that the whole region prospers.
He also said that we must take a pledge that we will build the prosperous, developed and self-reliant India dreamed of by the makers of our constitution.
Birla further said that Zone III of the CPA India region is a very important platform. This Zone regularly holds discussions and dialogues among the legislators of the North Eastern region on many subjects and issues, and through this process, a common solution emerges on many subjects.
Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Singh Tamang; Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Harivansh, Speaker of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Chairman of CPA India Region, Zone - III, Pasang D Sona, Speaker of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Arun Kumar Upreti, Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies of India, Members of Parliament, Members of the Sikkim Legislature and other dignitaries attended the event.
Noting that the world had started adopting digital technology during the COVID pandemic, Harivansh, Deputy Chairman, of the Rajya Sabha pointed out that the Indian Parliament has also moved towards digitization to prepare for the future. He said that new IT reforms are being undertaken to enhance the public interface with the legislative bodies. The Digital Parliament App and the National e-Vidhan Application are revolutionary steps in this direction.
He expressed hope that during the discussion on the agenda item 'Making Parliament and Legislatures more accessible to the public/citizens', the participants would highlight the efforts being made towards effective interaction of the masses with a transparent legislature.
Talking about the second theme of the conference, 'Cyber-bullying', he said that our mission of adopting new digital technologies to become a digitally empowered nation also has a negative aspect like cyberbullying.
Citing global data showing India as a leading region in cases of cyberbullying, he expressed hope that the conference would find a solution to this emerging concern. On the third item on the agenda i.e. 'Drug abuse and future plans to tackle this problem', he said that the entire country is facing the menace of drug abuse. Pointing out that India is the youngest nation in the world, he urged all stakeholders to root out this problem to prepare the youth for New India.
The Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Singh Tamang welcomed all the dignitaries present on the occasion. In his welcome address, Tamang said that the entire North East region has witnessed remarkable and far-reaching changes under the leadership of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
He further said that in today's time, the North East region has changed from being a Political Platform to a Developmental Platform. Mentioning the many development works done in the region, Tamang said that the state and the region can see unprecedented progress due to infrastructure development like Multi-Modal Connectivity.
He further said that similarly there is progress and development in all other dimensions as well. Appreciating the Act East policy of the Government of India, Tamang said such policies have proved to be a boon for the region. Mentioning the name "Ashta Lakshmi" given to the North East region by PM Narendra Modi, Tamang said that this initiative has increased the morale of the people of the region and the prestige and respect of the region.
Delivering a keynote address, the Speaker of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Chairman of the CPA Zone III, Pasang D. Sona said that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association has been at the forefront of bringing together legislators from around the nation and the world in order to discuss pertinent matters affecting the people. The Zone III of the CPA India region has been regularly organizing Conferences. He recalled that the North East region has organized 19 Conferences in the last twenty-five years on varied topics.
Delivering the welcome address, the Speaker of Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Arun Kumar Upreti expressed hope that the outcome of the Conference will enlighten the legislatures and the people's representatives to discharge their responsibilities in a more effective manner. (ANI)