Lucknow: The number of seats for members of the Uttar Pradesh state Assembly has been increased to 415 for the first Budget Session that will begin on May 23.
The strength of the house is 403 and one seat is reserved for the advocate general.
The additional seats are for ministers who are members of the Vidhan Parishad but participate in the Assembly proceedings.
According to Speaker Satish Mahana, the state Assembly had only 379 seats for 425 members in undivided Uttar Pradesh.
The state Assembly’s strength was brought down to 404 (including a nominated member) following the division of Uttar Pradesh for the creation of Uttarakhand in the year 2000. The Uttar Pradesh Assembly has no nominated member now and the strength is now 403.
“So, we needed more seats. After a few days, I was told arrangements have been made to increase the number from 379 to 403 seats. I went to the House to see the increased number of seats. But we still needed seats (about 10) for members of the Upper House, who are ministers. I had to remind the staff about the need for seats for them. The number of seats has been increased to 415 now,” he said.
In another new step, the members will now find tablet devices fixed on their respective desks when the 18th Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha (state Assembly) meets for the first time for the forthcoming Budget Session.
This is a major initiative to implement e-Vidhan and make the functioning of the legislature in the state paperless.
“Yes, we will get the tablets fixed on every desk. (No one can pull out these tablets). We will not replace/repair the damaged tablets, if pulled out. If you are not interested in speaking, why should we get the device repaired? These are all well-educated members,” said Mahana.
Devices on the seats of the chief minister, the leader of opposition, minister for parliamentary affairs and the speaker will be bigger. The names of the members speaking in the House will be displayed.
As implementation of e-Vidhan will pave the way for paperless proceedings in the House, Governor Anandiben Patel is also likely to read out her address using a device.
“Yes, we hope the Governor may use a device,” said Mahana while elaborating on measures for implementing e-Vidhan.
The Central government is implementing e-Vidhan aimed at connecting all state Assemblies and bringing them on a common digital platform. A data depository is being set up to make the state legislatures paperless.
The Uttar Pradesh Assembly has obviously decided to fix the tablets to the desks keeping in view the past two instances of violence in the House, including the one witnessed in 1997 when members pulled out microphones and used them as missiles to target each other. The state Assembly has since then stopped using extension rod microphones. Instead, microphones have been fixed to the desks.