With the Monsoon Session of Parliament likely to begin in the second week of September, Congress’s leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and senior party leader and Rajya Sabha member P Chidambaram on Wednesday called for the use of technology to enable Members to participate either physically or virtually in the proceedings in the two Houses.
Writing to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, Chidambaram welcomed the decision to hold the Monsoon Session, saying it is very important that the Houses meet and deliberate on the many issues that concern the nation and the people even during the pandemic.
He said he was aware that “special arrangements” are being made to ensure that the Members are safe and to maintain social distancing inside the House but argued that it is “nearly impossible” to avoid the spread of the virus when nearly 245 members of the Rajya Sabha gather in one place with nearly 300 officers, staff and security personnel in attendance, and a larger number gathers in the adjacent Lok Sabha.
“All evidence points to the conclusion that when people gather in significant numbers in one place, they are vulnerable and are exposed to infection. I am afraid this apprehension will discourage many Members from participating physically in the proposed Session of the House,” Chidambaram said.
Chowdhury, in a separate letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, suggested that “an app and link should be provided to Members” like in the Supreme Court and High Courts. “A Member who cannot be physically present should be allowed to speak via an app,” he said.
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