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Rajya Sabha debates to go digital

By Saubhadro Chatterji
December 19, 2009 03:48 IST
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Voluminous debates of the Rajya Sabha since its inception in 1952 will now be available with just a click of the mouse.

But for this mammoth task, Chairman of the Upper House Vice-President Hamid Ansari's team has also gone easy on the state exchequer.

The Rajya Sabha on Friday launched a project to make digital copies of all debates of Rajya Sabha debates, starting from 1952 and support it with multiple search filters to ensure quick and precise results for the viewers.

But as Rajya Sabha officials have decided to use 'open source software' or what is commonly known as 'free software', "it has saved the government at least Rs 2 crore ", said an official in Ansari's office.

The whole project is likely to take almost a year to complete. Already debates of 16 sessions of the Rajya Sabha have been made available in the new format. Rajya Sabha sources claim this is the first time open source software has been used for any project of Indian Parliament.

Inaugurating the project, Ansari said: "I am excited to know that the project has been done in such an advanced technological platform. I wish I'd had a time machine and could have used this software for research that I did long ago. I didn't have access to this advanced technology and had to wade through huge documents and thousands of pages."

The National Informatics Centre is the nodal agency for this project.

The search engine is made on Lucene, while the cyber space will be taken through post-gross SQL. The digitalised debates are based on Tomcat java webserver and the documents can be accessed through Linux operating system. All this software is free or open source software.

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Saubhadro Chatterji
Source: source