RS Chairman reviews preparedness for holding regular Parliament panel meetings

RSTV Bureau
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla hold meeting.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla hold a meeting.

With air and rail travel starting in a graded manner, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu reviewed the preparedness of the secretariats of both Houses of Parliament for regular meetings of department-related parliamentary standing committees, sources said.

It has been decided that officers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and those of Ministries appearing before such committees would be kept bare minimum, they said.

Chairman Naidu had held detailed discussions with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Secretaries General of both Houses and other senior officials on Saturday over the availability of rooms.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman had also discussed norms to be followed amid regulations imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi also attended the review meeting as the two presiding officers discussed the feasibility of regular meetings of the committees of Parliament with the resumption of air and train travel.

It was decided that participation of officials from both the secretariats and ministries appearing before these committees would be kept to a bare minimum to comply with social distancing norms, the sources said.

During the hour-long meeting with the speaker, nine rooms in the Parliament House and its annexe building have been identified for holding regular meetings of 24 department-related standing committees and another six rooms for other committees of both the Houses.

Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Speaker Om Birla have directed officials to arrange for extra seating with microphone facilities in other rooms to maintain social distance.

While each department related standing committee has 31 members comprising 10 from the Rajya Sabha and 21 from the Lok Sabha, the other standing committees of both the Houses have lesser MPs.

Sources said the Rajya Sabha Chairman  also directed the officials of the secretariat to draw up a schedule for enabling the taking of oath and affirmation of 37 new members after the fourth phase of the lockdown ends on May 31

These members have already been elected unopposed.

Chairman Naidu has spoken to the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, in this regard.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman also spoke to the Election Commission of India about the elections for 18 more vacancies in seven states which were deferred after the coronavirus outbreak.

He was informed that the commission was examining the matter.

The 18 vacancies include four each in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, three each in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, two in Jharkhand, and one each in Meghalaya and Manipur.

(With inputs from news agency)