Jairam Ramesh urges parliamentary standing committees be allowed to meet virtually



NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday demanded Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla allow parliamentary standing committees to meet virtually to discuss issues of urgent public importance.

Ramesh, the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change, has been calling for allowing the holding of Committee meetings virtually in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Naidu had earlier disallowed the request, citing rules and secrecy issues.

“I am requesting this once again for the umpteenth time. Speaker Lok Sabha Om Birla and Chairman Rajya Sabha M Venkaiah Naidu, please allow virtual meetings of Standing Committees. There are so many issues of utmost public importance that need to be discussed urgently,” he said in a tweet.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Information Technology, said he agreed with Ramesh’s request as physical meetings are not possible during the current times.

Some meetings of the panel have earlier been cancelled due to the lack of quorum.

“I agree strongly with Jairam Ramesh and had made the same request last year. We are stymied because virtual participation is not allowed and physical meetings are impossible in the present circumstances (the last one I convened had to be cancelled for lack of a quorum as MPs pulled out),” Tharoor said on Twitter.

The two leaders had earlier also made requests to the presiding officers of both houses of Parliament to allow the holding of virtual meetings of Parliamentary panels

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