Lok Sabha Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan delivered the keynote address on the theme “Strengthening Parliamentary Research for the effective functioning of Legislatures” at the 24th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) in Victoria, Seychelles on 10th January 2018.[/caption]
Camp: Seychelles, 10 January 2018: Lok Sabha Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan delivered a keynote address on the theme “Strengthening Parliamentary Research for the effective functioning of Legislatures” at the 24th CSPOC in Victoria, Seychelles, today. She said that there is a great expansion in the role and responsibilities of the modern day legislator since he has to attend the developmental needs of his constituency as well as his legislative duties. She remarked that as legislators come from diverse backgrounds and the complexity of issues before them are varied, thus, it is imperative that the Members are supported by a well-organized and trained research and information service. She said that a professionally organized Parliamentary research service is expected to provide verifiable information, comparative data and analytical inputs covering the entire spectrum of perspective to be dealt by the Members. Smt. Mahajan stressed that the need for a strong Parliamentary research service is greater in the developing democracies of the world to understand the complexities of the issues before the nations.
Smt. Mahajan highlighted that the research needs of the Parliamentarians in India is provided by the ‘Research and Information Division’ and ‘Members’ Reference Service’, which are part of a collective service called LARRDIS (Library and Research, Reference, Documentation and Information Service). She informed that the service endeavours to keep Members of Parliament well informed about the current developments, meet their information requirements and also brings out informative brochures, bulletins, notes, etc. on various topical issues. Observing that a need had been felt by her to provide additional research support to the Members of Parliament, Smt. Mahajan informed the delegates that a new platform – Speakers’ Research Initiative (SRI) was launched in 2015 to provide a different level of input to the Parliamentarians about policy issues of national concern. SRI had organized a series of workshops and discussions on subjects of contemporary relevance during the Session time, thereby providing Members valuable insights through a personalized interaction with domain experts drawn from different walks of life. She added that the inputs provided by SRI had been very beneficial to the Members and they have taken keen interest in its activities. Smt. Mahajan emphasized that exposure of research staff to other Parliament’s Research Services and events would help them in knowledge sharing, adoption of best practices and getting a wider perspective for providing research services to the Members.
Smt. Mahajan also shared that the Indian Parliament has a capacity building arm in the form of Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training (BPST) in the Lok Sabha Secretariat which organises Orientation and Training programmes for the Parliamentarians and Parliamentary officials of India and various countries. She informed, in recent times, customized programmes for the National Assembly of Seychelles were conducted in 2009 and 2013. Several Parliamentary officials from Seychelles have also attended the Annual Parliamentary Internship programmes at BPST to understand the Parliamentary Processes and Procedures of Indian Parliament and shared their experiences, she added.