Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has held another set of meetings ahead of the upcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament, which, sources said, could begin from the first week of September. As India battles the Covid-19 pandemic, the session is expected to include a number of firsts to ensure each person's safety.
The Rajya Sabha Secretariat has been asked to ensure complete preparation for the Monsoon Session by the third week of August. During the end of the month, testing, rehearsal and final inspection of all necessary preparations will take place before the session's commencement.
Naidu has instructed for the installation of four large display screens in the Chamber of the House and six additional small screens in the four galleries of the House. Other things such as audio consoles in galleries; ultraviolet germicidal irradiation; special cables connecting the two Houses for transmission of audio-visual signals; and a poly-carbonate sheet separating the Official Gallery from the Chamber of the House will also be made available on his orders.
The usage of chambers and galleries of both the Houses for holding the session is a measure being taken the very first time in the history of Indian Parliament, since 1952.
The Rajya Sabha Chamber and Galleries, and the Lok Sabha Chamber will be used for seating the members of the House during the session. While 60 members will be accommodated in the Rajya Sabha Chamber, 51 will sit in the Rajya Sabha galleries and the remaining 132 members will be seated in the Lok Sabha Chamber.
Political parties will be given seating instructions depending upon their strength. Designated seats will be earmarked in the Upper House Chamber for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of the House Thawar Chand Gehlot, and for the Leader of the Opposition and other party leaders.
Designated seats will also be provided in the Chamber, for Ministers. Former Prime Ministers Dr Manmohan Singh, and H D Deve Gowda, who are also members of the Rajya Sabha, will too have earmarked seats in the Chamber of the House.
Ministers who are not MPs of the Rajya Sabha will sit in the seats designated for the ruling party. Placards will indicate the parties accommodated in each gallery of the Rajya Sabha.
Those seated in the Official Gallery and Press Gallery will also have to follow mandatory and strict social distancing norms. Officials have been directed to minimize the usage of paper, as it has to be physically distributed. The use of digital copies and reports will be encouraged in Standing Committee meetings.