8-point protocol for MPs forward of Parliamentary panel conferences

New Delhi, July 7 

The MPs attending Parliamentary Standing Committee conferences should sit 6-feet aside, and less than two witnesses from the ministry involved can seem earlier than the panel at a time.

This is a part of the eight-point protocol set by the Rajya Sabha secretariat protecting in thoughts the COVID-19 pandemic, forward of the conferences of the Standing Committees on Science and Technology and Home Affairs on July 10 and 15, respectively.

The assembly of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs was convened by its chairman Anand Sharma on June 3, but it surely needed to be known as off as members expressed their lack of ability to attend it in view of the prevailing state of affairs as a result of pandemic.

As members have been dealing with issue in attending the panel conferences on account of journey and quarantine restrictions, Congress chief Jairam Ramesh, who’s the chairman of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Climate Change, has written to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to permit digital participation of members within the assembly.

The two presiding officers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had earlier deliberated on the problem of holding digital panel conferences. However, they haven’t given their approval for it on account of current guidelines that require modifications by the Rules Committee of Parliament and a decision by the House, in keeping with sources.

The Rajya Sabha has eight Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees of the House, of which two are chaired by Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Jairam Ramesh.

“Respected M Venkaiah Naidu garu, Standing Committee on Science & Technology is scheduled to meet on July 10th. MPs across parties have asked for virtual sitting of Committee to discuss S&T issues related to COVID-19. I hope you will allow. Where there is will, there is skill (sic),” Ramesh mentioned on Twitter.

In his letter to the Chairman, Ramesh mentioned the panel will talk about ongoing S&T associated points regarding COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing and future S&T programmes to reinforce resilience and capability to cope with such crises.

“Many members of the Committee have expressed their lack of ability to attend this assembly due to journey restrictions, quarantine and different constraints. I’m uncertain if we will muster up a quorum.

“But every member irrespective of party affiliation has asked for a virtual sitting of the Committee. Surely, this can be arranged – a number of other countries have held even full Parliament sessions in a virtual mode. I once again request you to allow virtual meetings of the Standing Committees,” he mentioned.

As per the protocol for conferences of Rajya Sabha Committees, members have to make sure conformity with bodily distancing norms. 

Rajya Sabha Secretariat had mentioned the protocol to be adopted on May 28, anticipating conferences of some Committees after restrictions on home air journey have been eliminated on May 25.

Officials mentioned the problem once more and introduced the up to date protocol forward of the 2 scheduled conferences.

“Members of the Committee to be seated at a distance of 6 ft and applicable preparations to be made to accommodate the utmost doable participation.

“Only two witnesses from the Ministry/Department appearing before the Committee for evidence would be allowed at a time and if more number of witnesses were to be examined, it would be done in turns. There is no restriction on the number of witnesses to be examined by the Committees,” the brand new protocol mentioned.

It additionally said that materials associated to the conferences can be provided to members as delicate copies, and reporters shall be accommodated within the nicely of the Committee Rooms for taking verbatim observe of the proceedings of the Committees.

While participation of officers associated to the Committees shall be restricted, the participation of members within the conferences can be ascertained prematurely in order to make sure needed logistics.

Hand Sanitisers, disposable masks and gloves for the members, witnesses, officers and workers of the Secretariat shall be ensured on the entrance of the Committee Rooms and their attendance can even be taken exterior below the brand new protocols, the sources mentioned. — PTI

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