Rajya Sabha announces austerity measures amid COVID-19 crisis

RSTV Bureau

As India battles COVID-19 pandemic, the Upper House of Parliament is mulling a series of austerity measure and expects to save more than Rs. 80 crore in the current financial year.

The necessity to minimise expenses was decided at a meeting chaired by Rajya Sabha Chairman M.Venkaiah Naidu, who met with officials of Rajya Sabha Secretariat earlier this week. At the meeting, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha called for an expenditure reduction plan to be drawn up.

In an interview to RSTV’s Kriti Mishra, Rajya Sabha Secretary General Desh Deepak Verma highlighted some of the areas that were identified for cost-cutting in the current financial year.

He said that the Parliamentary Committee meetings in the current financial year will not be held outside New Delhi. He also noted that foreign delegations and tours will also be kept to a minimum, which would reduce expenditure.

Secretary General also highlighted the safety measures taken by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He listed the following:

– Social Distancing
– Compulsory use of mask in the premises
– Use of Gloves
– Regular washing of hands is encouraged after dealing with files
– Thermal Temperature check is done before entering the Parliament premises
– Sanitisers kept at various points

In an interview, Secretary General Desh Deepak Verma also mentioned that the dates regarding oath-taking of newly elected Members of Rajya Sabha will be decided after May 17. He said that it was being discussed is the oath ceremony could take place inside the House chamber.

The Secretary General highlighted that the Secretariat had also initiated the process to fill up the vacancies of heads of eight committees, which arose following the retirement of some members of the Rajya Sabha.