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Many novel Covid measures for monsoon session of Rajya Sabha

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 16, 2020

With 33 candidates elected unopposed, elections are now to be held on June 19 for 24 Rajya Sabha seats RV Moorthy R_V_Moorthy   -  THE HINDU

It is first of its kind in the history of Indian Parliament to use chambers and galleries of both the Houses to hold the session.

The Rajya Sabha has geared up for convening the monsoon session of Parliament. The Upper House's secretariat is working overtime by installing measures to disinfect the premises and seating arrangements ensuring social distancing among members, officials, other staff and visitors.

Installations such as four large display screens in the chamber of the House, another six small screens in the four galleries, audio consoles in the galleries, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, special cables connecting the two Houses for transmission of audio-visual signals, polycarbonate sheet separating the official gallery from the chamber of the House etc. has been made after a meeting between Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla last month.

"All these arrangements mark the first of its kind session to be held in compliance with the social distancing norm under the coronavirus induced restrictions. Using the chambers and the galleries of both the Houses for holding the session being the major first of its kind in the history of Indian Parliament since 1952," a release from Naidu's office said.

As per the new arrangements, chambers and galleries of both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha will be used for seating the members of the House during the monsoon session. Sixty members will be accommodated in the chamber and 51 in the galleries of Rajya Sabha, leaving out the first row. The remaining 132 can sit in the chamber of Lok Sabha.

"Various parties will be allotted seats in the chamber and galleries of Rajya Sabha based on respective strength, and the remaining will be seated in the chamber of Lok Sabha in two blocks meant for ruling parties and the others," the release said.

Prime Minister, Leader of the House, Leader of the Opposition and leaders of other parties will sit in the chamber. Former Prime Ministers and former Leaders of the House Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda and ministers Ramvilas Paswan and Ramdas Atshawale will also get seats in the chamber of the House. "Other ministers will be seated in the seats meant for the ruling party," the release added.

All the seats in the galleries are being fitted with consoles to enable participation of members in the proceedings of the House from their seats. Placards will indicate the parties accommodated in each gallery of the Rajya Sabha, the release said.

Seating in the officials' gallery and press gallery will also conform with social distancing norm, each accommodating 15 people. 'Only limited number of secretariat officials will be seated at the Table of the House, and the reporters (for taking verbatim note of proceedings of the House) will be accommodated in the special box meant for foreign dignitaries," the release said.

Published on August 16, 2020

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