Northeast lawmakers learn to perform their role better

    By IANS,

    Shillong : A northeast legislators’ conclave here Nov 11-12 sought to bring together lawmakers from the northeast to enable a holistic discussion on the issues confronting the region and challenges and issues facing them in order for them to perform their duties better.

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    State legislatures pass a number of laws each year addressing complex issues such as education, agriculture and health in thne region. Legislative matters have become increasingly technical and require inputs from specialists to be framed as effective public policy, according to organisers.

    Unlike other large democracies, organisers of the conclave noted, legislators in India do not have access to any institutional research support. Access to formal support from the civil service is available only to ministers. This makes it difficult for members of legislatures to prepare for debates on a wide range of issues.

    However, in every state, there are MLAs who are proactive and are willing to seek out information which will help them perform their role better. To reach out to MLAs, PRS Legislative Research in partnership with the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, organised the two-day conclave for MLAs. The conclave shedule had a mix of sessions by academicians and senior bureaucrats.

    The conclave was held at the North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, and was attended by 14 MLAs from the states of Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

    The conclave covered topics such as economic development of the northeast, effective leadership in the present social and developmental model of the region, infrastructure challenges of the North East Region, the role of vocational training in developing skilled labour, the relationship between elected representatives and the bureaucracy, and the shared heritage of the region.

    PRS Legislative Research is the first research institution of its kind in India. The work of PRS with MLAs has focused on providing support to legislators to help them perform their roles and functions better. PRS has engaged with over 500 MLAs from across 24 states so far.