RS Chairman discusses options for conducting Rajya Sabha proceedings during Monsoon Session

PTI

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu during Rajya Sabha proceedings. (RSTV Grab)

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu during Rajya Sabha proceedings. (RSTV Grab)

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu held discussions with officials on Friday on various options for conducting the proceedings of the Upper House during the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament, as only 127 members can be accommodated in the main hall and galleries while following physical-distancing norms.

Sources said a limited virtual participation is also being considered as an option.

The chamber and the galleries of the Rajya Sabha can accommodate 127 members while adhering to physical-distancing norms, the sources said.

All the galleries except the media gallery would be utilised for the seating of members, the sources said, adding that the seating arrangements for mediapersons in the media gallery would also be in conformity with physical-distancing norms for which guidelines would be evolved.

The secretary general and other senior officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat participated in the hour-long deliberations, during which various options were discussed, the sources said.

The broad position that emerged was making seating arrangements for 127 members in the chamber and galleries of the House, in conformity with physical-distancing norms, and making provisions for the remaining members to participate in the proceedings virtually from either the Central Hall or the Balayogi Auditorium on the Parliament House premises, the sources added.

A limited virtual participation is being considered in view of the capacity constraints of the NIC at present, they added.

At the meeting, M Venkaiah Naidu reiterated the need to upscale capacities for a larger virtual Parliament in due course.

He suggested that the effort shall be to enable participation of the members in the proceedings from within the House to the extent possible through appropriate planning.

Given the limited seating capacity of 127 members in the chamber and galleries, M Venkaiah Naidu directed the officials of the Secretariat to draw up appropriate plans for seating, based on the strength of various parties in the House, or any other effective criteria like preparing a list of the participants in the proceedings of the House for the day, who would be accommodated accordingly, the sources pointed out.

Issues relating to taking up the Question Hour, voting in the House if required, administering oath or affirmation to the newly-elected members, a detailed planning for the transportation of members, effective measures for physical distancing and sanitisation were also discussed at the meeting.

The chairman directed the officials to submit a detailed action plan for further consideration by early next week.

Friday’s review was aimed at enabling the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to be in a position to execute the best possible option of holding the proceedings by preparing for the same and take necessary actions whenever the government decides to hold the Monsoon Session of Parliament.