India’s political landscape is undergoing a significant transformation with the inauguration of the new Parliament building, equipped with a host of modern features. One of the notable additions is the introduction of an “automated system” designed to manage the microphones used by Members of Parliament (MPs).
This innovation aims to streamline parliamentary proceedings and has sparked discussions regarding its implications for parliamentary decorum and opposition voices.
Automated Microphones Enhance Parliamentary Proceedings
The newly constructed Parliament building in India has been making headlines for its infusion of modern technology into the legislative process. Among the array of features, one that has garnered attention is the “automated system” for controlling MPs’ microphones. This system is designed to automatically switch off an MP’s microphone when their allotted speaking time expires.
This development comes in response to allegations from opposition parties, including the Congress, who claimed that the government, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre, had been interfering with their speeches during sessions. One specific point of contention revolved around discussions concerning the Hindenburg report’s allegations of financial impropriety by the Adani Group.
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused the government of “insulting” him by switching off his microphone. However, the Centre countered these allegations, labeling them as a “technical fault.” To substantiate their claims, Congress even posted a video that showed the microphone being turned off for nearly 20 minutes, only reactivating when House Speaker MP Birla urged MPs to maintain decorum within the House.
Rahul Gandhi’s Speech Blocked Until Apology
The Congress party has gone a step further, asserting that the Centre has taken the decision to prevent Rahul Gandhi from speaking in Parliament until he apologizes for comments made in London. Back in March, Gandhi alleged that microphones were frequently silenced when opposition leaders attempted to speak. He asserted, “Our mikes are not out of order… they are functioning but you still can’t switch them on. That has happened to me a number of times.”
This development signifies a departure from the previous setup where microphones were individually attached to MPs’ desks, and sound technicians managed them according to the Speaker’s instructions. In both Houses of Parliament, there existed a chamber with an electronic board displaying seat numbers, allowing for precise microphone control.
Beyond Automated Microphones: Other Modern Features
While the introduction of automated microphones is a significant innovation, the new Parliament building encompasses various other modern features aimed at enhancing functionality and security. One of these features is a biometric security system, bolstering the building’s overall security measures.
Moreover, the building features a smaller “Well,” which is traditionally a space where opposition lawmakers often stage protests and disrupt parliamentary proceedings. The reduction in the size of this area is intended to minimize opportunities for such disruptions.
In a move towards digitization, every MP will be provided with a tablet computer, facilitating efficient access to information and data during legislative sessions. These digital tools are expected to streamline the research and communication processes for parliamentarians.
Inauguration and Prime Minister’s Address
The new Parliament building was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a five-day special session of Parliament. In his 51-minute address, PM Modi touched upon several significant topics. He highlighted the success of the recent G20 summit and the upcoming Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission.
Following the inauguration, the Parliament will make a historic shift to the new building, marking a significant milestone in India’s legislative history. The transition is set to occur after the lunch break on the following day, signifying a new era for parliamentary proceedings.