Honorable members of the Parliament in India are being offered $1000 each for procuring a tablet PC of their choice. The move is part of a government initiative to promote a paperless environment while also enhancing new age communication techniques among the MPs. The amount of $1000, which translates to around Rs. 50,000, will be reimbursed under “The Provision of Computer Equipment (Members of Rajya Sabha and Officers) Rules, 2008.”
As of now, the Apple iPad 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola XOOM, and the Asus Transformer are among the most high profile tablet PCs currently available, though there also are plenty of other options such as the 7 inch Galaxy Tab and RIM PlayBook, along with of course the Notion Ink Adam. Interestingly, the RIM PlayBook has been awarded the prestigious FIPS 140-2 certification by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, which means the tablet is safe for use by U.S. federal government agencies—the only tablet in the world to be so awarded. Russia might also adopt the PlayBook for use by its agencies, but has specifically banned the iPad over security concerns. No such guidelines have been issued by the Indian government, though.
“We hope to roll out the scheme in the next fortnight. MPs can order it through the Parliament secretariat or get the cost reimbursed. Tablets will replace paper and MPs will make better use of the literature as it can be carried, unlike voluminous paper reports,” said K Rahman Khan, Deputy Secretary for the Rajya Sabha. Its the Rajya Sabha members (250) that are being included in the project initially with those of the Lok Sabha (545 members) to follow suit.
So while the MPs are free to choose either iOS or Android based tablets, the National Informatics Center has come up with an app that would ensure tablets running either OS can be put to the best use. Among everything else, the app will allow the MPs to view List of Business, Papers Laid on the Table of the House, Latest Parliamentary Bulletins, Questions Lists, along with Members’ Birthdays as well. However, it shouldn’t be surprising if MPs are caught playing around with their tablets during parliament sessions, though the tablets will surely come in handy for them to keep themselves entertained during boring sessions.
It will be interesting to see which tablet PC finds favor the most among the MPs or which size options.