UP legislators to have 3G connectivity

Legislators of both houses in the Uttar Pradesh assembly will soon be armed with the latest gadgets and web-friendly mobile phones having 3G connectivity, thanks to new Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's initiative to overhaul governance using information technology.

A government order to this effect has been issued to the departments concerned by offices of the speaker of the assembly and chairman of the legislative council, highly placed sources said.

The financial modalities have also been worked out by the finance department and a sum of Rs.6,000 per month will be given to the 403 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) and 99 members of the legislative council (MLCs) for maintaining the devices.

"This is a good move, it adds to connectivity and is in sync with the changing times," Rita Bahuguna Joshi, the state Congress chief who is the legislator from Lucknow Cantt, told.

Irfan Solanki, a ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) legislator from Sisamau in Kanpur, is also full of praise for the move.

"We used to get this allowance earlier too, but as this would be specially for 3G connectivity, it is a very positive step," he said.

Kalraj Mishra, a senior BJP leader and first-time legislator says he has no idea of the move but sees it as a very positive step.

The move to equip the MLAs with latest gadgets - web-friendly mobile phones, data cards and 3G connectivity - has come after Akhilesh broached the topic with senior government officials.

He asked them to work out the modalities, after which the project was flagged off.

"After consultations with the finance department and approval by the law department, the project has been approved," an official told. The project would cost Rs.3.12 crore per month to the state exchequer.

Until now the legislators used to be given a land line at home and a mobile phone.

Uttar Pradesh's 38-year-old Chief Minister has been pitching for a complete IT overhaul in the state and has been encouraging various government departments to become tech-savvy.

HCL chairman Shiv Nadar had also recently come to the state capital to discuss the possibilities of 'IT intervention' in governance.

The Samajwadi Party government has promised laptops and tablets to students in the state who pass Class 10 and 12. The proposal was passed in the first meeting of the state cabinet March 15.

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