New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Congress MP Jairam Ramesh once again expressed his displeasure on Friday for not being allowed to hold virtual meetings for the parliamentary standing committees.
According to both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats, standing committees need to be attended physically with a slew of standard operating procedures. Ramesh, who heads the standing committee on science and technology said the decision resulted in relatively low attendance. Earlier, he questioned if the Prime Minister can hold virtual meetings, why not the members of standing committees.
Ramesh remarked on Friday, “Our Parliamentary Standing Committee is having a most informative and useful meeting with Biotech India, DST India, CSIR & government’s Principal Scientific Advisor on the issue of Science & Technology & COVID-19. Too bad we are not allowed to have virtual meetings so that more MPs could have participated!”
This is not the first time he raised the demand of the virtual meetings, predicting low turnout otherwise. “No MP from south can attend Standing Committee meeting tomorrow. No one from western states can attend. Only those in & around Delhi can come,” Ramesh had said Thursday.
He further questioned, “If PM can hold video conferences with CMs, if NSA Doval can have a VC with Chinese, why can’t 30 MPs hold a virtual meeting?”
To make his point, Ramesh claimed at least 30 Parliaments worldwide have adapted to virtual meetings, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier, both the LS and RS secretariats came up with SOPs for such meetings saying it should be physical meetings in a physical space. However, it cautioned to maintain 6 feet distance from each other, not bring paper documents, using sanitisers at entrance among others.
Ramesh had written to the Upper House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu thrice, requesting for virtual meetings of the standing committees.