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MPs again press for virtual Parliament panel meetings

Indian Parliament, New Delhi

Indian Parliament, New Delhi   | Photo Credit: AP

Panel on IT meets with only 8 members

The Standing Committee on Information and Technology met in Parliament on Tuesday. In what was its third attempt to hold a physical meeting, with only eight members in attendance, the panel discussed blocking of Chinese Apps like Tik Tok by the Indian government with officials of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology and Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday.

Out of the 30 members, only eight including the panel chairperson and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor attended the meeting.

Comment | India’s Parliament is missing in action

Speaking to The Hindu, Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu Karti Chidambaram, who could not travel to Delhi to attend the meeting, said, “We have been repeatedly appealing that these meetings should be held via video conference. If the Prime Minister can have a meeting with Google CEO via video conference then why not a Parliamentary Panel meeting? The least that the Google can do is probably provide us with a secure facility for holding our meeting.”

The meeting also saw discussions on privacy and data security aspects of the Arogya Setu App. After being denied permission for an online meeting, the panel had already begun discussion on the issue via e-mails between the members. The members’ questions were sent across to the concerned ministries. The committee will also look into the legality of government’s mandatory imposition of the App on various categories of persons.

Also read | Parliament doesn’t have space to ensure physical distancing: Secretaries-General

Mr Tharoor had, on April 20, announced on Twitter that the panel would meet via video conference. He was later informed by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s office that video conferences can not be used as medium to hold Parliamentary panel meetings till the rules are approved by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha since it violates the confidentiality clause.

After much to and fro, a meeting was called for June 10 at the Parliament complex which had to be deferred to June 17. On both days the committee could not meet because of varied quarantine rules and travel restrictions for out-of-State travellers since most of the members are in their respective constituencies.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 8:48:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mps-again-press-for-virtual-house-panel-meetings/article32081772.ece

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