As Monsoon Session nears, Speaker, Venkaiah Naidu explore idea of ‘virtual Parliament’ amid COVID-19 scare

Last Updated: Monday, June 1, 2020, 22:21
As Monsoon Session nears, Speaker, Venkaiah Naidu explore idea of ‘virtual Parliament’ amid COVID-19 scare
Ahead of monsoon session of Parliament, discussions for holding the the Parliament sessions amid the coronavirus crisis have started with Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker OM Birla exploring the idea of holding ‘virtual Parliament’ as an option in the long run.Both the presiding officers deliberated on modalities of holding the monsoon session with coronavirus-induced norms like social distancing on Monday and mulled over the idea of e-Parliament, PTI reported, citing sources.The Monsoon Session of Parliament usually takes place in July-August.The meeting held at Naidu official residence was also attended by the Secretary Generals of both the houses who have been asked to examine the feasibility of using the Central Hall of Parliament for meetings of the Lok Sabha for the monsoon session. Several other options, including shifting the Rajya Sabha, which has less members than the lower house, to the chamber of Lok Sabha and holding the sittings of the two Houses on alternate days were also discussed to ensure social distancing norms.

Naidu, Birla backed e-Parliament idea
Noting that there is no confidentiality issue in the proceedings of both the Houses, which are open to general public and being telecast live, Naidu and Birla agreed on the idea of e-Parliament for long run.They, however, decided to refer the issue of virtual meetings of parliamentary committees to the Rules Committees of both the Houses in view of the confidentiality aspect of the deliberations, PTI reported.Virtual meetings for various committees of Parliament were also proposed during the discussion. The Secretaries-General briefed the Chairman and Speaker on issues related with the proposed virtual meetings, including a safe technological platform, the rules of confidentiality of deliberations and infrastructure upgrade.In the wake of growing concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, the Parliament was adjourned sine die on March 24 before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the nationwide lockdown.

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