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Parliament monsoon session may see both physical, virtual participation

A view of Parliament House.

A view of Parliament House.  

A hybrid of physical and virtual participation is being zeroed in for holding the monsoon session of Parliament, with a majority of members present physically in the House and a limited number joining in virtually.

At a meeting on Friday, senior officials informed Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu that to enable virtual participation of all members, the existing capacity of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) had to be enhanced by manifold.

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Mr Naidu held an hour-long meeting to discuss the various options for conducting the monsoon session , according to sources. The session could be delayed from its usual end of July schedule and could get pushed to September, the sources stated.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat has estimated that the House can accommodate 127 members while adhering to physical distancing norms. This would mean that all visitors galleries except the one reserved for the media will be occupied by members.

“Only a limited number of members can participate virtually because of capacity constraints of the NIC. Chairman Mr. Naidu has suggested that the effort shall be to enable the participation of the members in the proceedings from within the House to the extent possible through appropriate planning,” a senior Rajya Sabha official said.

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Screens will be arranged both within the House and outside to enable virtual participation. Mr. Naidu has asked the Secretariat to draw up appropriate plans for seating based on the strengths of various parties in the House. And the list of the participants who will be accommodated inside may vary according to the agenda.

For holding the question hour, voting in the House if required, administering the oath/affirmation to the newly-elected members, planning the transportation of members and taking effective measures for physical distancing and sanitisation, a detailed action plan will be submitted by next week.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 8:01:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-monsoon-session-may-see-both-physical-virtual-participation/article31982478.ece

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