Need consensus for electoral reforms, says Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi: There is a need to bring in electoral reforms like holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls and taking measures to curb influence of money power, for which a consensus is required, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday.

"India has frequent election festivals. I call them festival because election becomes a festival, but we have too many festivals," he said.

The entire system then gets devoted to the electoral process because of which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a call for holding simultaneous elections for the Centre and the states, the Information and Broadcasting Minister said.

President Pranab Mukherjee has also endorsed it and Election Commission is also favourable to it, Naidu said.

Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

"We need to reform the system... The country has to move in a direction and evolve a consensus," he said, adding the decision had to be taken in the interest of the country rising above party lines.

Another issue is to curb the influence of money power in the elections, Naidu said, adding Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has in the budget made a proposal that all political parties should accept contributions above Rs 2,000 by cheque.

The Union Minister was speaking at an event where he released - India Year Book 2017 published by the Publications Division which also launched an online digital Library on Monday.

Lauding the initiatives, Naidu claimed that, "The previous regimes had only encouraged a particular kind of literature and not enough material is available to the people especially the younger generation about a lot of our heroes."

"It is sad that a lot of information about our great leaders, our forefathers who led the independence movement, who fought for the country against the Britishers like Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Tantya Tope and others, we don't have enough information for the new generation," he said.

He lauded the Publication Division for bringing information about lives of these heroes to the people, saying authentic information is very important.

While releasing the electronic version of the Year Book, he said the e-version provided latest technical features and conformed to the best international standards.

The e-book had a variety of reader-friendly features like searchable content, referencing, and was priced at 25 per cent less than the print books, the Union Minister said.

Taking forward the governments digital push, the Division has converted over 750 books into digital format, and is poised to meet the 12th Plan Scheme target of digitising 1,000 books by the end of March 2017, he said.

Naidu also gave an overview of the activities and initiatives taken by the Ministry of I&B and its Media Units during the two weeks Swachhta Pakhwada for the period from 16 Jan to 31 Jan.

Ministry of I&B had proactively planned a theme based Swachhta Calendar for period August 2016 to July 2017 to give a thrust to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, he said.

Naidu said his ministry tried to retrieve space after disposal of old furniture, fixtures, electronic and electrical waste. It had successful retrieved 60,624 sq feet of space after the special campaign between September to November 2016.

A sum of Rs 14,21,484 was realized after auctioning of disposed goods, he said.

On the redressal of grievances, Naidu said a total of 4132 grievances had been disposed off during the last one year.

The Minister also mentioned the innovative ways that were taken to seek people participation in the mission through Swachh Bharat Short Film Festival, street plays, constitution of 'Best Section Award on Swachhta' by the Ministry.

A special 5 minutes Bulletin - Swachhta Samachar was also started on all weekdays by DD news, he added.

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Updated Date: Feb 06, 2017 21:38:51 IST

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