The National Legislators’ Conference Bharat (NLC Bharat) is envisioned as a historic event that brings together Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) and Members of Legislative Councils (MLCs) across India’s States and Union Territories to share their ideas and commendable practices on a common platform. The conference will take place in Mumbai from June 15th to June 18th, 2023. It would be the first unprecedented gathering of elected representatives in the history of India.
What is NLC Bharat?
NLC Bharat is a non-partisan platform for legislators to interact and learn from each other. Its cherished goal is enhancing legislative effectiveness and promoting good governance. The four-day event will see more than 80 parallel thematic participatory sessions of MLAs and MLCs. These legislators will engage in experiential learning and thematic discussions in thoughtfully curated sessions. Acclaimed national/global leaders as well as various party leaders are invited to participate in sessions aimed at strengthening democracy. Interactions with delegates from democracies abroad are also planned.
NLC Bharat is supported by various state Legislatures, respected senior bureaucrats, and members of civil society. Patrons and the Governing Council for NLC Bharat include former Lok Sabha speakers Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, Dr. Meira Kumar, Shri Manohar Joshi, Shri. Shivraj Patil and the Honourable incumbent Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla. The MIT School of Government, Bhartiya Chhatra Sansad, and Atulya Bharat Nirman Foundation are sharing the responsibilities to organise the conference.
A visioning exercise
On 11 March 2023, some NLC Bharat’s patrons, legislative assembly speakers, political leaders, bureaucrats, and industry heads congregated at the Jio World Convention Centre for a visioning exercise, aimed at charting the organisation’s future course. The discussion in this exercise was attended by Dr. Meira Kumar, Former Diplomat and Chancellor, Shri. Gian Chand Gupta, Hon’ble Speaker, Haryana Legislative Assembly, Shri.Ramesh Tawadkar, Hon’ble Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly, Shri. Prithviraj Chavan, Hon’ble MLA (INC, Karad South) and Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri. Dilip Walse Patil, Hon’ble MLA and Former Speaker, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Shri. Rahul Narwekar, Hon’ble Speaker, Legislative Assembly Maharashtra, as well as other dignitaries. A media briefing was conducted by Shri Rahul V. Karad, Convenor, NLC Bharat, outlining the way forward for what is envisioned to be a pivotal moment in Indian polity.
“NLC is an attempt to cohesively build the nation,” said Shri Rahul V. Karad, Convenor, NLC Bharat. “All those present here and all those supporting us are the custodians of NLC Bharat. It is the result of a long-term vision. A platform that has participation from lawmakers from across parties and states can help strengthen our democracy.”
“Rahul Karad is a hardworking, young visionary with no political ambitions,” said Dr. Meira Kumar, Former Speaker, Lok Sabha. “Let us support him in his mission to make NLC Bharat a great success.”
“As we all know, India’s strength lies in its diversity,” said Adv. Rahul Narwekar, Hon’ble Speaker, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. “The multicultural and multilingual society that exists in India is unparalleled to any other country in the world. I believe that the diversity in legislative bodies across the country also contributes to the strength of this country and therefore, conferences like NLC Bharat, which shall embark upon tomorrow’s India’s foundations, is definitely welcome and will certainly contribute immensely towards the creation of a new and stronger India.”
“The relationship between legislators has become bitter over time,” said Shri Satish Mahana, Hon’ble Speaker, Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. “I feel that this conference will reduce that bitterness amongst us. Ultimately, no matter what party you are from, our goal is one and the same: that we need to serve the people of our country.”
Mission: NLC Bharat
The conference has a mission to enhance the skills and capacities of legislative leaders, legislators, and legislative staff in the States and Union Territories of Bharat, to enhance their effectiveness, independence, and integrity in law-making and policy formulation. The conference also aims to improve the interconnectedness between State Legislatures and thinkers, promoting cooperation and quality of legislative discourse. It will foster education and training through interstate cooperation by exchanging information, experiences, knowledge, and practices amongst the participants of NLC Bharat.
Origins of NLC Bharat
The idea of NLC Bharat emerged out of a long and tenuous process of establishment of the MIT School of Government (MIT-SOG) by Shri. Rahul V. Karad in 2005 to provide political training to youngsters interested in joining politics. In 2022, four former Lok Sabha Speakers, namely, Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, Dr. Meira Kumar, Shri. Manohar Joshi and Shri. Shivraj Patil, as well as incumbent speakers of State Legislative Assemblies and Chairpersons of State Legislative Councils, got together and envisioned a single national organisation to support, defend and strengthen state legislatures. A conceptual exercise was held in Pune, Maharashtra on the 16th of September 2022 and a visioning exercise was organised in New Delhi on the 7th of November 2022 for the formation of the National Legislators’ Conference, Bharat in June 2023. A planning workshop was organised in Pune on 6th December 2022 to give final shape to the conference. The exercise in Mumbai sharpened the focus and crystalised the thought process underlying NLC Bharat. Shri Karad informed that the registration process for this conference has already commenced.