Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday allowed the Parliamentary Affairs Minister to lay all the listed official papers and reports on behalf of other ministers to save time. As per the usual practice, ministers lay official papers and statements listed against their names when the Chair calls them one after the other.
In view of just four working hours each day during the current monsoon session that is being held under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, Naidu allowed just one minister to lay all the papers. "In view of the limited functional time available and special seating arrangements made for the current session, I have acceded to the request made by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs for laying by him all the papers listed under the heading 'Papers to be laid on the Table' and statements by ministers related to Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committees," he said.
The monsoon session of Parliament began on Monday with members being seated in both chambers of Parliament and galleries so as to create a physical distance between them. For the first time in the history of the Indian Parliament, both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha halls are being used for the sitting of one House at a time to enable members to fully adhere to social distancing norms.
The Rajya Sabha now includes not only its own chamber and galleries but also the chamber of the Lok Sabha. While the Upper House meets daily between 9 am and 1 pm, the Lok Sabha sitting is scheduled between 3 pm and 7 pm. Naidu said he has advised the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs to make himself available in the Rajya Sabha or ensure the presence of either of the Ministers of State of Parliamentary Affairs for laying of papers.
He also mentioned that September 15 is celebrated the world over as the International Day of Democracy. "India being the largest democracy in the world, the importance of this day for us cannot be emphasised enough," he said. "Democracy is the thread which holds us together. It is the bedrock of our unity in diversity. It is the binding force which has helped propel our country on the path of progress." The Vice President said the Constitution provides enough avenues to citizens for their all-round development.
"This very institution of Parliament is the hallmark of democracy and we, as legislators, are the flag bearers of democratic principles. Let us resolve on this International Day of Democracy to strive continuously to further enrich the democratic principles as enshrined in our Constitution," he added.