President Ram Nath Kovind will inaugurate the two-day 80th All India Presiding Officers’ Conference at Kevadiya, Gujarat, on Wednesday.
The conference, organised on the theme ‘Harmonious coordination between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary — Key to a vibrant democracy’, and will see discussions on ways to ensure constitutional accountability of the legislature and the executive to the people. It will also take up issues related to working of the state legislatures in a disciplined and orderly fashion. The event, also known as the Speakers’ Conference, will end on the Constitution Day (November 26) with a virtual address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The two-day conference will begin tomorrow on the banks of River Narmada and near the Statue of Unity. This tradition of organising the conference dates back to 1921,” Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla told reporters at Gandhinagar on Tuesday.
Birla is also the chairperson of the conference, which is in its centenary year now.
Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu will also attend the conference along with dignitaries like Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Birla said. Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and presiding officers of various legislative bodies from across the country are expected to attend the conference.
An official communique on the event said as many as 27 presiding officers of state legislative bodies have confirmed their participation. Secretaries of state legislatures and other senior officials are also expected to join, said the release on the event.
Asked why the event, where more than 400 people are expected to gather, was being held at Kevadiya when the Covid-19 situation in Gujarat was deteriorating, Birla said, “We conducted parliamentary proceedings in between the Covid-19 pandemic. We conducted the proceedings for more time and the productivity was 167 per cent. It becomes our duty to tell the nation that our duties come first… I want to thank the Presiding Officers for abiding by their constitutional responsibilities during such perilous times and all of them have come here.”
Birla also said meetings of the 54 Parliamentary Committees were continuously being held while adhering to social-distancing norms and as per the SoPs (standard operating procedures) of the government. “We have to do our duties for the sake of the country,” he said.
Post-Diwali, the daily number of Covid-19 cases in Gujarat jumped from 926 cases (as recorded on November 16) to 1,427 fresh cases on Monday. The number of cases in the tribal district of Tapi, where the conference is being held, has also seen a surge from just one case a day to 10 cases on Monday. On Monday, the state government restricted gatherings for weddings to 100 people to control the spread of the virus.
Gujarat last hosted the conference in January 2016, when a four-day-long event was held at Gandhinagar. The state had earlier hosted the event in 1973 and 1992. In 2019, the Speakers’ Conference was held in Uttarakhand, where anti-defection law, building a common digital platform for viewing parliamentary proceedings and ways to smoothly conduct the proceedings of Houses were discussed.