Shillong, Feb 25: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla today asserted that India has set examples of democracy for the entire world.
Birla was addressing the Members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly during his visit to Shillong today.
He also advocated that the democratic norms gaining ground all over the world, have Indian Democracy as an exemplary model.
Speaker of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Metbah Lyngdoh, Chief Minister, Conrad K. Sangma, Leader of Opposition, Dr. Mukul Sangma were also present during the event.
The Lok Speaker, while speaking of the deep roots of democracy in our country, opined that the representative institutions such as the Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and the Local Bodies are the temples of democracy, where public representatives give voice to the hopes and aspirations of the people.
Therefore, he said, it is very important that all the democratic institutions- the Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and local Bodies, be in the form of Autonomous District Councils or Panchayats, work in coordination and harmony so that the collective responsibility towards the people is fulfilled.
Addressing the Members, Birla fondly remembered former Lok Sabha Speaker and former Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Late Purno Agitok Sangma and his significant contributions towards strengthening parliamentary democracy and constitutional practices.
Birla said that Sangma has always been an inspiration for us for the standards set by him.
Birla further said that democratic institutions, from Parliament to State Legislatures and Local Bodies should work in harmony and share their best practices for greater efficacy.
He emphasized that democracy can be successful only when it benefits the last person standing on the periphery. Dialogues, debates and discussions are the tools to achieve the above end.
Recalling the legislative business transacted in Lok Sabha during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Speaker said that Parliament sent a positive message to people and enhanced their confidence by transacting business amidst the pandemic. Responsibility of legislators during such challenging times becomes more onerous and the collective efforts helped us to successfully face the challenges posed by Covid-19 , Birla said.
In this regard, the Lok Sabha Speaker appreciated Meghalaya Legislative Assembly for convening Assembly Session during the pandemic. The Speaker also commended the Assembly for their initiative of including Zero Hour in their Practice and Procedure.
On this occasion, the Lok Sabha Speaker advocated for greater use of information and communication tools to improve efficacy of legislative bodies so that they can cater to the aspirations of people in a faster and more transparent way. He appealed to create a ‘people centric, sustainable and development – oriented society’ by bridging the digital divide.
Deliberating on the capacity building and new initiatives in Parliament, Birla said, initiatives like organising briefing sessions on important legislative agenda in the House, 24×7 research and information support to Members, digitisation of records, including House proceedings, are commendable tasks and Legislative Assemblies should emulate these novel ideas for capacity building of their Members.
In this regard, Birla also offered all possible assistance and support to legislative assemblies.
The Lok Sabha Speaker said that Meghalaya is a land of opportunities and immense possibilities and can act as a model of development and prosperity for the entire nation. Natural resources of the State, skills and enthusiasm of people and the democratic spirit of Meghalaya provide an enabling environment for development and prosperity. He also lauded the initiative of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and Meghalaya Government for construction of a new building for the Assembly.
Birla appealed to the State Governments, State Legislatures, Members and every other stakeholder to positively contribute towards making India Aatmanirbhar Bharat. He added that North-East has immense potential and capabilities; therefore, this region can lead the country on the path to progress.
Earlier, on his arrival in the Legislative Assembly Complex, Birla received the Guard of Honour.
Later, Lok Sabha Speaker visited the construction site of the new building of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
After visiting the site, Birla assured that all possible support and assistance will be provided to the Assembly by the Parliament in this regard.
Shri Birla stated that Meghalaya has been able to keep up its culture and traditional values. “Meghalaya is pacing towards development with its culture intact. I can certainly say that in the days ahead, this State will emerge as an important hub not only in the region but in the entire country,” he said.
The Lok Sabha Speaker said that efforts will be made to set up a Tourism Development Hub in Meghalaya. “Domestic as well as foreign tourists will start traveling to the State and we will be able to set up the hub in this State,” he added.