The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats resume work from today after they were shut in the last week of March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to official orders.
Both the houses were adjourned sine die on March 23 following the passage of the Finance Bill for 2020-21, bringing a premature end to the Budget Session, which was slated to conclude on April 3.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said in a tweet, “I have asked the officials to transact core business that cant be deferred by deploying manpower accordingly in conformity with the spirit of norms of lockdown. Directions have been given to put in place all required safeguards to prevent contracting the virus. It began with sanitizing vehicles at points of entry into Parliament House and screening of body temperatures of inmates”.
Rajya Sabha Secretariat resumed functioning today after 27 days since lockdown came into force on March 25. I have asked the officials to transact core business that cant be deferred by deploying manpower accordingly in conformity with the spirit of norms of lockdown. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/pj3pp3CIwR
— Vice President of India (@VPSecretariat) April 20, 2020
“I appeal to all concerned to ensure such safeguards at workplaces including sites of economic activity as partial relaxation of lockdown began today”, the Vice President said.
Earlier an order issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat that said that it will resume work from Monday and all officers of the joint secretary rank and above will join office.
The Upper House of Parliament also issued a similar order asking all its officers of the rank of joint secretary and above to attend office on all working days.
Besides them, the other staff will work on a rotational basis.
While working, the secretariat staff will ensure that social distancing norms and precautionary measures are observed, the orders said. The total number of officers and staff attending office in each branch or section should not exceed 33 per cent of the actual strength, the instructions read.
All staffers must maintain a distance of six feet from each other and wear masks, it said.
File movement shall only be through electronic mode in e-office and physical movement of files should be avoided as a precautionary measure, the instructions read.
The only exception could be urgent files for the consideration of the Lok Sabha speaker or the chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
The Rajya Sabha order said “in the wake of Consolidated Revised Guidelines of April 15, 2020 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, stipulating the Lockdown measures to be followed w.e.f. April 20, 2020, the Competent Authority has taken some measures with regard to functioning of Rajya Sabha Secretariat”.
“All officers of the rank of joint secretary and above will attend office on all working days; officers of the rank of director to deputy secretary and equivalent will attend office as decided by their respective additional secretary/joint secretary concerned on rotational basis based on work requirement and its urgency,” it said.
Bare minimum officials below the rank of deputy secretary and equivalent, including consultants and casual labourers, will attend office as decided by the respective divisional head depending on the quantum of work pending, its urgency and other administrative expediencies.
Staggered working hours will be implemented for those attending office, the Rajya Sabha order said.