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WE CONVERTED CRISIS INTO OPPORTUNITY: BIRLA

MP from Kota Bundi and Speaker of the Lok Sabha Om Birla completed his three years as Speaker. Over the past three years, Birla has set new standards to run the Lok Sabha and has also received applause and praise from leader of all parties for the fair and proper manner he has conducted the LS proceedings, while giving every MP a chance to speak. In an exclusive talk with First India’s Aditi Nagar, Birla opens up regarding his commitment to Lok Sabha, towards democratic values and above all the people of the land. Excerpts:

You have completed three years, how do you feel?
The trust and faith with which the honourable members of Parliament entrusted me with this responsibility, I have tried to live up to those expectations. Speakers before me have always upheld the honour, trust and faith of Parliament. Walking on the ways shown by them and taking every MP along, I have tried to get debates continue till late night. I have made an effort that MPs should have maximum chance to speak and maximum participation, which yielded better results. The productivity of House has increased. So as the Speaker, it is my responsibility to keep everyone’s trust and faith secured in the chair.

You always talk about maintaining the dignity of Democracy. In today’s time has the definition of Democracy changed because opposition claims that Democracy is being brought down?
After independence our leaders discussed in detail over the best way to take the nation forward during which, Parliamentary form of Democracy was found to be the best. The world has now accepted that the Parliamentary Democracy is the best form of democracy, which is accountable. Over the years, democracy has been strengthened and our former leaders have a huge role to play in it. The definition of democracy can not be changed in India. Ours’ has been a nation where democracy has been functional over thousands of years. Discussion, debate and collective talks were the essence of democracy then, and even today the same is being followed. It is in our culture and roots. So I believe that democracy has been strengthened further.

What do you think has been the biggest challenge of the three years of your term?
There has not been any challenge, rather I turned the situations into an opportunity. I tried that the issues that can create friction in the Lok Sabha, they are discussed and solution is found. Like Covid time, it was a difficult phase, but the Lok Sabha has a whopping 167 percent productivity. The MPs engaged in debates till late in the night and their presence was also according to the normal times, whereas we followed several Covid norms and the affairs of the House were conducted over two sessions. So by taking all parties and MPs along, we changed a difficult situation into an opportunity and delivered a better result.

Do you think Om Birla has more to achieve? For example a precedent ruling given by Speaker Om Birla. You think that time is yet to come?
Change is a constant. For example, the debates and issues in the pre- 2000 era were different from what they are today. It is our effort that the Parliament is for the MPs and people and we thus improved our research wing to find out on how to better our capabilities. We now provide a research paper to MPs on any topic they want to speak or debate upon, the library is now digitalised,we are now bringing all legislative institutions of the nation on one platform. Similarly, we are providing speeches of Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Prime Minister etc through books. So now when a new MP comes, they would have several facilities on hand.

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