Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla met today to discuss a new option for accommodating the Members of Parliament in conformity with the norm of physical distancing during the ensuing monsoon session of Parliament.
Official Sources said, both the Presiding Officers inspected the chambers and galleries of both the Houses to take stock of seating capacity as per physical distancing norm.
The visit was followed by a detailed discussion on using the chambers of both the Houses for conducting the proceedings of each of the two Houses.
The proposal considered was that members of Lok Sabha would be seated in the chambers of both the Houses while Lok Sabha is in session and so is the case with Rajya Sabha whose members would sit in the chambers of both the Houses.
Raja Sabha chamber and its galleries can accommodate 127 members ensuring physical distancing while Lok Sabha chambers and its galleries can accommodate about 290 members.
Members of each of the two Houses who can’t be accommodated in the chambers and galleries of respective House would be seated in the chamber and galleries of the other House.
Various logistical and technical issues were identified that need to be addressed if this option were to be exercised.
These include enabling participation of the members of a House seated in the other House through necessary audio-visual connectivity with and display in the other House, audio facilities for members seated in galleries, simultaneous interpretation, taking vote if required, enabling live telecast of proceedings of each House AND arrangements for media persons.
Secretaries General of both the Houses have been asked to examine each and every issue to the last minute detail for taking a final decision in respect of this new option after its evaluation against other options under consideration.
Mr Naidu also took stock of seating and other arrangements for administration of oath or affirmation of new members of Rajya Sabha scheduled for Wednesday. 42 of the 61 new members have so far confirmed their participation.