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Nagaland Legislative Assembly First to Go Paperless in India

Image credit: JoshiPralhad; Twitter

In a bid to go completely paperless, Nagaland has implemented the National e-Vidhan Application (NeVA) programme, making it the first state assembly in the country to do so. Now, members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) can use electronic devices to participate in House proceedings. The Nagaland Assembly Secretariat has attached a tablet or e-book on each table of the 60 members’ assembly. A paperless assembly involves using electronics to facilitate work, including the automation of law-making processes, tracking decisions and documents, and digital exchanges of information.

NeVA is a work-flow system deployed on the National Informatics Centre (NIC) cloud initiative called MeghRaj. It is a Unicode-compliant software that allows for easy access to various documents offered bilingually, that is in English and any regional language. As per reports, NeVA is a device-neutral and revolves around members’ needs, it equips officials to carry out a variety of House operations smartly. It puts all information regarding member contact details, rules of procedure, list of business, notices, bulletins, bills, starred/unstarred questions and answers, papers laid, committee reports, etc. on handheld tablets.

NeVA completely eliminates the process of sending out a notice/request to collect data. The application hosts a secure page for each member of the House to submit questions and other notices. The project aims to bring all the legislatures of the country together. Technical and financial provisions have to create digital archives of legacy data, which will be made available to members and citizens who can search through it via a mobile application and website.

According to an official, a similar system outside the NeVA framework is being used in Himachal Pradesh, and several other state Assemblies are moving in a digital direction. The project is being carried out under the supervision of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. The Assembly Secretariat has already conducted preliminary familiarisation training for the members and will continue the training to ensure all members are capable and up-to-date.

The official added that in the coming days, it will be scaled up to tap into its full potential and will achieve its target to make the functioning of the state legislature completely paperless. Once all other assemblies implement it, the Parliament and state legislatures will be networked together effectively, the official explained. The expenses for implementing NeVA are funded by the centre and the state government on a 90:10 sharing basis.

In another move to reduce paper-based systems, earlier this month, India launched the Electronic Bill (e-Bill) processing system. It increases transparency, efficiency, and accelerates faceless-paperless payment by allowing government suppliers and vendors to submit their claims online, which will be traceable on a real-time basis. As OpenGov had reported, in a phased manner over the next two years, the system will be implemented across all central ministries and departments and will make the submitting and backend processing of bills completely paperless.

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