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Sittings in Central Hall or online? Venkaiah, Birla discuss how to hold Monsoon Session

Naidu and Birla held a detailed discussion on Monday on the options and modalities for the Monsoon Session.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: June 2, 2020 8:29:36 am
 Monsoon Session Central Hall, Monsoon Session online, Venkaiah naidu, parliament Monsoon Session, covid 19 tracker, india covid 19 tracker, coronavirus total cases in india, Sources said that unlike committee meetings, which are confidential, sittings of both Houses of Parliament are live telecast, so there is no bar in holding virtual meetings either. (File Photo)

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla have asked the secretaries general of both Houses to examine the feasibility of holding Lok Sabha sittings in the Central Hall of Parliament, with Rajya Sabha sittings held in the Lok Sabha chamber, so that adequate social distancing can be maintained.

Sources said that unlike committee meetings, which are confidential, sittings of both Houses of Parliament are live telecast, so there is no bar in holding virtual meetings either.

Read| Coronavirus India Updates: India now 7th worst-hit country; holding e-Parliament in the offing

The only issue is that it would need a major infrastructure upgrade for 800-odd MPs and officials to be virtually supported in a session over the Internet, a source said.

Naidu and Birla held a detailed discussion on Monday on the options and modalities for the Monsoon Session.

“Both presiding officers have underscored the need to adopt technology to enable Parliament sessions as a long-term option to tide over situations when regular meetings are not possible,” a source said. “They have noted that since there is no requirement of maintaining confidentiality of the proceedings of both the Houses, which are open to the general public besides being telecast live, virtual Parliament is an option to be explored.”

The Budget Session of Parliament was cut short on March 24 — a day before the countrywide lockdown began in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

Among options on the cards for Monsoon Session, according to sources, is holding meetings of Lok Sabha in the Central Hall, and moving Rajya Sabha, which has a smaller strength, to the much bigger chamber of Lok Sabha. There is also an option of holding the sittings on alternate days in the Central Hall.

The officials are also learnt to have briefed the presiding officers about issues connected with the proposed virtual meetings of various committees of Parliament. These include providing a safe technological platform, complying with the rules of confidentiality of deliberations in such meetings, and difficulties in virtual meetings, which will require an infrastructure upgrade.

Polls to 18 Rajya Sabha seats set for June 19

New Delhi: Elections to 18 Rajya Sabha seats, postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the ensuing lockdown, will be held on June 19, the Election Commission announced Monday. The polls were originally scheduled to be held on March 26, but on March 24 were deferred because of the government-mandated nationwide lockdown. The counting of votes will be held on June 19 itself, the EC said in a statement. Out of these 18 seats, four are from Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, two from Jharkhand, three each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and one each from Manipur and Meghalaya.

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