New Delhi, July 3 : The Rajya Sabha Secretariat is exploring seating members of the upper house in the house’s chamber as well as the galleries in conformity with the norm of physical distancing and to enable virtual participation of other members from either the Central Hall or Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament premises for the monsoon session.
As the Lok Sabha Secretariat came out with new rules for reconvening parliamentary panel meetings, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Friday too held detailed discussions on various options for conducting the proceedings of the upper house during the ensuing Monsoon Session of the Parliament. The Secretary General and other senior officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat were present in the hour-long discussions.
However, virtual participation is considered to be limited, in view of the capacity constraints of NIC at present to enable such virtual participation of all MPs. But, Naidu said that there is a need to scale up capacities for larger virtual Parliament in due course.
The chamber and the galleries of the Rajya Sabha can accommodate 127 members while adhering to the physical distancing norms. Sources said that all the galleries, except the media gallery, would be utilised for seating the members. Seating of media persons in the media gallery would also be in conformity with the physical distancing norm for which guidelines would be framed.
“For enabling the viewing of participation of the members from outside the chamber of the House through virtual participation, it has been felt that screens need to be arranged both within the chamber of the House and outside as required,” sources said.
But given the limited seating capacity of 127 members in the chamber and the galleries of the House, Naidu asked 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.
But running a Parliament session during the time of pandemic is not easy as ensuring seating alone. Issues relating to taking up Question Hour, voting in the House if required, administering oath or affirmation to the newly-elected members, detailed planning for transportation of members, effective measures for physical distancing and sanitisation among other issues were discussed.
Naidu directed the officials to submit a detailed action plan by early next week, for this purpose.