Children discuss internet shutdown, drug menace during special mock session of Rajasthan assembly

JAIPUR: The understanding about parliamentary democracy and social issues among children was at display in the Rajasthan legislative assembly on Sunday where a special one-hour mock session was held for the young minds aged 6-16 years.

A total of 200 children — corresponding to the number of assembly seats in the state — conducted the Question Hour, Zero Hour and other proceedings of the House as the speaker, chief minister, ministers, leader of the opposition, and ruling and opposition party MLAs.

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The proceedings of the session were conducted as per the rules of the House during which the children acted with confidence and received appreciation from Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
Jahnvi Sharma, who essayed the role of the speaker, started the proceedings with Question Hour. Children, playing MLAs from the opposition parties, asked questions and those who acted as ministers replied with facts and details.

The questions were mainly based on issues related to children and the youth. An action plan to curb child marriages and action against availability of narcotic substances near educational institutions were among the other issues raised.

From asking questions to staging dharna in the well of the House, staging a walk out and creating uproar, the children made the mock session lively.

Designated opposition MLAs staged a dharna in the well of the House demanding action against drug smuggling, prompting the leader of the House to assure that action will be taken.

During the Zero Hour, a member demanded a debate on internet shutdown during competitive exams, saying it created trouble for common people and that the government mulled over shutting down the internet to hide its administrative failure.

The opposition members walked out of the House demanding a minister’s reply. The minister, in turn, said he was ready to answer.

Disadvantages of mobile phones for children, their adverse impact on mental health and the need to provide free resources to students and teachers for online education were among the other issues discussed during the Zero Hour.

The girl, who essayed the role of the speaker, seated herself in the assembly secretary’s chair while the rest of the children sat on the seats and benches allotted to the chief minister, ministers and MLAs in the House.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Assembly Speaker CP Joshi and Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria attended the session.

Addressing the children before the mock session began, the chief minister highlighted the importance of democracy and the role India’ first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and others played in strengthening democracy.

He asked the children to understand the importance of democracy.

Birla praised the initiative and said active public participation was needed to strengthen democracy.

Speaker Joshi said it was the first-of-its-kind initiative in the country and that 200 children were selected from among 5,500 from 15 states who had submitted their entries online.

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