Every Parliament, every assembly in the world is faced with new challenges. It has to respond to, make laws on and exercise oversight over an ever increasing array of issues, both internal and external, that keep getting more complex by the day. Rapid advances in every single branch of knowledge add new dimensions to this bewildering array. In order to do justice to their supremely important responsibilities, it is imperative that members of legislative bodies are armed with a sophisticated understanding of these advances in human knowledge along with their multiple dimensions and linkages with local, regional, national and global issues. Only knowledgeable legislators can make wise, relevant and effective laws as well as exercise effective oversight.
SRI grew out of the Hon'ble Speaker Shrimati Sumitra Mahajan's own experience gained over an unbroken eight terms in the Lok Sabha that while on the one hand the ever increasing ambit and intricacies of governance and policy making, the economic and social domestic effects of an increasingly globalised world pose fresh challenges before the parliament and assemblies, the knowledge and information resources available to our members of parliament are not able to keep pace with these developments. She felt that apart from the research that is made available to the members, mechanisms for a deeper and wider understanding of issues were required.
She thus brought together eminent experts from diverse disciplines as members of SRI to devise such mechanisms for the benefit of MPs. The group came up with the idea of workshops focused on important issues where the best possible eminent experts and members of parliament interact with each other in face to face dialogues. This combination of two perspectives- of the MPs armed with a real grasp of the reality on the ground in their respective constituencies and of the experts with strong academic knowledge- creates an excellent experience of knowledge sharing, enhancement and capacity building.
The need for such a mechanism is all greater as the number of new members in the Parliament far outnumbers the experienced ones.
Speaker’s Research Initiative (SRI) has been created with this vision in mind.