Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's decision to ban mobile phones in meetings was put into effect earlier on Friday as police officials taking part in a meeting with the CM deposited their phones in neat envelopes outside the hall at Vidhana Soudha.
The decision to ban mobile phones was taken earlier this month to avoid distractions during meetings. "The CM had taken the decision because he observed that officials were losing focus in meetings. This decision was not taken from a security perspective but to ensure that officials focus solely on work and are not distracted," Janata Dal (Secular) spokesperson Dinesh told TNM.
A senior IPS officer, who is currently posted in Bengaluru said this is the first time that such a directive has been passed. "There can be two reasons-- one, there can be distractions with some people using their phones. The other reason is obvious, as it is very easy to record things these days," said the official.
Meanwhile, a senior IAS officer who had served in the city and also been sent for central deputation termed it as a good move. "Nowadays, WhatsApp and other usage of the phone is like an addiction. And there is no way to figure out if the officer is taking notes. Often there will be officers who will be texting. Meetings are held with public money. For meetings people often travel long distances, and if people are distracted then the whole exercise is futile," the officer said.
Kumaraswamy's decision came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi similarly banned mobile phones from meetings because he found that officials were checking social media sites during meetings.
The decision applies to all official meetings in which the CM is involved. The CM has also asked officials to cut down on unnecessary expenditure including reconsidering requests raised for new cars.