JANTA PARLIAMENT – a simulated, virtual Parliament session for discussing urgent COVID related issues and suggesting policy changes to the government.
Organizers: Article21 Trust, Rethink Aadhar and Maadhyam Initiative
Parliament has not been in session since the first lockdown was imposed 4 months ago and all government policy decisions since then have escaped legislative scrutiny and democratic accountability. Janta Parliament is being organized to fill this vacuum and set a policy agenda for our representatives whenever they convene for the Monsoon Session of Parliament. Participants with diverse backgrounds and varied knowledge and experience will be brought together to simulate a discussion as it would happen in Parliament. Members of Parliament / Members of Legislative Assemblies will also be invited to participate in the discussion.
These discussions will be in the form of Short Duration Discussions, as they happen in Parliament, with each discussion lasting for 2.5 hours at least followed by voting on policy proposals. Post the session, these policy proposals will be shared with MPs and Ministers on behalf of the Janta.
Kanksshi Agarwal, Founder NETRI and Senior Researcher of Tech Policy at CPR and Anusha Ravishankar of NETRI Foundation were invited as civil society members to participate in a session on-
Technology and Surveillance session of Janta Parliament, on 18th August, from 3pm – 6pm
Kanksshi Agarwal, Centre for Policy Research, highlighted serious concerns with unregulated use of facial recognition technologies in law enforcement (references to #blacklivesmatter and custodial death of Jayaraj and Bennix in Tamil Nadu, India and need for police reforms) or in election-related activities as used in a recently held municipal elections on pilot basis in Telangana with a grave potential of violations of rights of citizens.
She also emphasised on the demand to bring Gender-Based Violence as a category to report accounts/profiles on social media, as our digital identities are an extension of us and it is important to categorise #GBV and take cognizance of the colossal implications of ignoring it. We cannot tackle, what we do not acknowledge.
In the context of unregulated use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies against women protestors, originally meant to be used for tracking missing children, Anusha Ravishankar of NETRI Foundation called for greater regulation on use and commercialization of such technologies.