Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla held a meeting with the secretary generals of both Houses and other officials on Tuesday to review the options available and the feasibility of holding a regular monsoon session in which MPs are physically present.
The officials informed the two presiding officers that if social distancing norms are followed, the Lok Sabha chamber and the Central Hall of Parliament can accommodate only a little over 100 members.
The secretary generals reported that even if the remaining members are accommodated in the galleries, the space would not be adequate to seat all members, said people aware of the matter.
The Lok Sabha has a strength of 545 members while the Rajya Sabha has 245 members. The much smaller Rajya Sabha chamber, which has already been ruled out for the sittings, can seat only 60 members if social distancing norms are followed, according to officials.
The secretariat had explored the possibility of using the plenary hall of Vigyan Bhawan, which is used for official programmes of the prime minister and various ministries where there is a large gathering, but found it to be inadequate for accommodating Lok Sabha members.
Further, the Central Hall and Vigyan Bhawan do not have simultaneous translation facility. Members of Parliament are allowed to speak in their mother tongue in the House and it is translated real time for the other members and the press through ear phones by translators and interpreters.
The Central Hall does not have air conditioning facility for long sittings lasting throughout the day, said the people cited earlier.
One option suggested during the meeting on Tuesday was allowing only those members whose participation is required as per the items listed for business and who can be accommodated while following the social distancing norms.
Naidu and Birla have directed the secretary generals of the two houses to examine in detail the various issues relating to virtual participation of members in the proceedings.
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3 Comments on this Story
Dron Khanna231 days ago
Abolish the post of President. We do not need a trillion dollar rubber stamp. That will be the amount saved/generated by abolishing the post and selling off the land occupied by the President. There is no such position in UK. Why do we need continue with systems left by them.
Kumar 231 days ago
VERY GOOD NEWS. It will save lot of resources incl. reduction in LOST hours due to protests, boycotts etc. In this new scenario, if member wants to protest he can simply switch off his system and protest in front of his family members incl. breaking the mikes etc. which he we notice many times.
Kumar 231 days ago
Please continue virtual route even after the pandemic ... we are tired of walkouts and fights and ugly debates/shouting in parliament. Hope protests/walkouts in parliament will be history. Let MP attend from thier constituency so there is no travel expenditure on MP to travel to Delhi. We should look @ ways to reduce govt expenses. Remove all the governors of state and convert/sell the bunglaws. Why is state governor required when the same can be done by High court judge of state as additional duty. Govt needs to act in reducing expenses ... mere speech is not enough.