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Parliamentary panels defer meetings

Speaker Om Birla had asked committees to defer all meetings till April 3. File photo: PTI

Speaker Om Birla had asked committees to defer all meetings till April 3. File photo: PTI  

Travel restrictions in view of COVID-19 pandemic preventing movement of MPs

All meetings of parliamentary standing committees have been deferred indefinitely because of the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The meetings will not be held till the lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in place.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat has ordered a total shutdown till Friday and the Lok Sabha Secretariat till March 31.

The meetings of the committees on commerce and government assurances, scheduled for Tuesday, were cancelled.

Finance committee chairperson Jayant Sinha told The Hindu that at least two committee meetings, scheduled for March 19 and 26, had to be deferred. “We will resume our meetings once travel restrictions are lifted.”

A meeting of the committee on information and technology, scheduled for Wednesday, was also cancelled. It was meant to discuss the 48-hour ban on Malayalam television channels Asianet and Media One.

Committee chairperson Shashi Tharoor said MPs could not travel, with domestic flights cancelled from midnight Tuesday. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had asked the committees to defer all meetings till April 3. “I have asked for the next meeting for April 15. But it would be subject to how things are then,” Mr. Tharoor said.

The committee on science, technology, environment, forests and climate change has sought to defer the deadline to present its report on the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019. In a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, committee chairman Jairam Ramesh has sought an extension till the first week of the monsoon session. He argued that the committee was unable to get witnesses owing to the travel restrictions and it needed more consultations with the stakeholders as the legislation was “very badly drafted and requires a thorough examination”.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:55:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliamentary-panels-defer-meetings/article31156137.ece

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