Measures like maintaining a minimum six feet distance, as was earlier stipulated by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, has been reiterated by the RS Secretariat. These measures came after a recent meeting taken by the upper house’s Chairman Venkaiah Naidu which was followed up by another meeting of the Secretariat staff on Monday.
“The seating of members around the table in the committee rooms with a minimum distance of 6 feet between them should be ensured. Members who arrive later, may be accommodated in the additional seats to be provided for complying with the norm of physical distancing,” read the circular.
The number of officials attending such meetings has also been asked to be limited. At any given time, only two witnesses and two supporting officials are being allowed.
Gone are the days of carrying bulky files. Only soft copies are being allowed to be carried to make powerpoint presentations. The Committee sections are also asked to ascertain the participation of members beforehand so as to make logistical arrangements.
Meanwhile, only four reporters will be allowed to be there for whom seating arrangements will be made on both sides of the table.
For those members attending the meeting, there is a custom of obtaining their attendance. This process is asked to be done outside the committee room.
Meanwhile, hygiene basics like availability of disposable masks, sanitisers and hand gloves are asked to be arranged for not just the members but witnesses, officials and the staff as well. That arrangement is instructed to be made right at the entrance.
The Committee section has an added responsibility to ensure that the flow of officials from the committee section to the committee room is restricted. This will ensure, at any given time, inside the committee room, less number of individuals are present which will help implement social distancing norms effectively.
Earlier, the Rajya Sabha secretariat explored seating of members of the upper house in the chamber and the galleries of the house in conformity with the norm of physical distancing and to enable virtual participation of other members from either the Central Hall or the Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament House premises for the monsoon session.