Six feet distances between seats, only two witnesses per ministry: New SOP for Parliament panel meetings

NEW DELHI: The MPs attending Parliamentary Standing Committee meetings will have to sit six feet apart, and not more than two witnesses from the ministry concerned can appear before the panel at a time.
This is part of the eight-point protocol set by the Rajya Sabha secretariat keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic, ahead of the meetings of the Standing Committees on Science and Technology and Home Affairs on July 10 and 15 respectively.
The meeting of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs was convened by its chairman Anand Sharma on June 3, but it had to be called off as members expressed their inability to attend it in view of the prevailing situation due to the pandemic.
As members were facing difficulty in attending the panel meetings due to travel and quarantine restrictions, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who is the chairman of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Climate Change, has written to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to allow virtual participation of members in the meeting.
The two presiding officers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha had earlier deliberated on the issue of holding virtual panel meetings.
However, they have not given their approval for it due to existing rules that require changes by the Rules Committee of Parliament and a resolution by the House, according to sources.
The Rajya Sabha has eight Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees of the House, of which two are chaired by Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Jairam Ramesh.
—PTI

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