by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) Aug 30, 2011
Indian members of parliament are taking lessons on how to use iPads and other tablet computers after being given a special budget to buy technology that cuts down on paperwork.
Each of the 790 lawmakers, many of whom are elderly, has been granted 50,000 rupees ($1,000) to invest in one of the devices in an attempt to tackle India's infamously laborious red tape.
"We held an orientation class to familiarise the members with tablet apps (applications) designed especially for parliament," Sharda Subramaniam, joint secretary for information technology in the upper house, told AFP.
The scheme was "to reduce the huge mountains of paper piling up each day while parliament is in session," she said, adding that the computers could be used to access past debates and question lists.
Subramaniam said about 100 of the 245 MPs in the upper house had already been reimbursed for their Apple iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tabs.
Many veteran MPs such as E.M.S. Natchiappan, 63, of the ruling Congress party, bring their iPads to work daily. They are allowed to use the tablets in the chamber to make notes but no Internet access is available.
India's labyrinthine bureaucracy has long been renowned for its addiction to paperwork, with even basic transactions needing triplicate forms, stamp certificates and endless information recorded in hand-written ledgers.
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