New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) With the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees resuming their operations after the Parliament was adjourned sine die due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said on Friday that the committees have started working with precautions and expressed hope that it will be business as usual.
“The Committee on Science and Technology, one of the 8 committees serviced by Rajya Sabha, held a meeting today (Friday). Committee on Home Affairs, also of Rajya Sabha, is to meet next week,” he said.
Naidu noted that a meeting of the Committee on Home Affairs was convened in the first week of June, but it could not be held due to the members who were concerned about the Covid-19 situation. “Corona pandemic did cast a shadow on the working of these committees, which function on behalf of the Parliament. All concerned were keen about the resumption of work by these committees. But the delay was forced by circumstances beyond our control,” he said.
He assured that all possible measures were taken to enable committees’ meetings by complying with the norms of social distancing, and wearing of masks, further to lifting of restrictions on domestic air travel in May. “I am hopeful these committees would now go about examining important issues concerning respective domains,” Naidu remarked.
However, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, who heads the standing committee on science and technology that met earlier on Friday, said the decision against allowing virtual meetings resulted in relatively low attendance. He had questioned if the Prime Minister can hold virtual meetings, why not the members of standing committees.
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, use sanitisers at entrance among others.