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Jairam Ramesh pushes for online Parliamentary committee meetings

IANS | January 10, 2022 05:49 PM

NEW DELHI: In the wake of the rise in Covid cases in the national capital, the meetings of several Parliamentary committees have been cancelled after over 400 Parliament staff tested positive for Covid-19 during random testing.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has now called for conducting online meetings of the standing committees.

"I requested the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha on the last day of the Winter Session to allow online meetings of standing committees. And yet again it was disallowed. Now, important committee meetings are being cancelled. I simply cannot understand why online meetings cannot be held," Ramesh said.

Sources said that apprehension of leakage is the main reason why permission for online meetings has not been granted yet.

The Parliamentary standing committees on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, Urban Development, and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology decided to cancel their meetings on Monday, the sources said.

The decision to call off the meeting of the standing committee on External Affairs, scheduled later this week, is likely to be taken today.

Earlier also during the first and second waves of Covid, meetings of the standing committees had been called off.

Over 400 Parliament staff have tested positive for Covid-19 during random testing. Among those who tested positive, 65 are from the Rajya Sabha, 200 from the Lok Sabha and 133 belong to allied services.

Random testing was conducted after a sudden spike in cases in the national capital, and most of the staff who tested positive did not show any symptoms.

"More random testing will be conducted for those coming to the Parliament to control the spread of the infection," sources said.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat now restricts staff attendance. As per the new guidelines, 50 per cent of staff or officials below the rank of under-secretary or executive officer are required to work from home.

Earlier, both Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had requested all the staff to get double vaccinated.


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