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Citing UK, US models, opposition seeks monsoon session of Parliament



New Delhi: The opposition has conveyed that the monsoon session of Parliament should be convened with 30-40 members of Parliament present in both Houses and the remaining MPs attending virtually through secure portals.

As the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs explores the possibility of seating MPs following social distancing norm of 6 feet in the monsoon session, the opposition has conveyed to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla that Parliament could follow the pattern of Britain’s House of Commons.

“The government does not need to consider seating all the MPs. We can follow House of Commons with only the prime minister, concerned ministers, leaders of political parties and chief whips being present and remaining MPs attending the House virtually through secure NIC portals,” deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, told ET.

Sharma said: “The government cannot evade parliamentary scrutiny at such a crucial time. There are many issues that need to be discussed including Covid management, migrant labourers, economy and the border issue with China. The government needs to consider that this (Parliament scrutiny) strengthens India’s response to China.”

Citing UK, US Models, Oppn Seeks Monsoon Session of Parliament

According to sources, Left and DMK have also conveyed that a hybrid session be called, which would see some members participating on the floor of the House and other MPs being given a choice. DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran has conveyed to the Speaker that if US Senate and house committees could meet, India as the world’s largest democracy, could also hold a session.

Under the current Covid-19 management protocols, MPs could face a challenge in attending Parliament session. Every state has its own quarantine rules for travellers. Once MPs return to their home states after attending Parliament, they would need to quarantine themselves for 10-14 days as per the prevalent rules. Opposition parties have flagged this concern to both the presiding officers that this rule be relaxed. However, there has been no response so far.

“This rule needs to be relaxed for MPs,” said Sharma. The opposition had also cited this issue when parliamentary standing committees were trying to resume functioning. When the presiding officers did not allow exemption of MPs from Covid protocols, the meetings had to be postponed.


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