Jairam Ramesh insists on online meetings of parliamentary committee

New Delhi: In view of the rise in COVID cases in the national capital, meetings of several parliamentary committees have been cancelled, as over 400 Parliament staff tested positive for COVID-19 during random testing.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has now called for holding an online meeting of the standing committees.

“I had requested the Chairman of Rajya Sabha to allow online meetings of Standing Committees on the last day of the winter session. And yet it was denied. Now, important committee meetings are being cancelled. I don’t understand Come why online meetings can’t be held,” Ramesh said.

Sources said that the apprehension of leakage is the main reason that till now the permission for online meetings has not been given.

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

A decision to cancel the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs meeting to be held later this week is likely to be taken today.

Earlier also during the first and second wave of covid, the meetings of the standing committees were cancelled.

More than 400 Parliament employees have tested positive for COVID-19 during random testing. Among those who tested positive, 65 belonged to the Rajya Sabha, 200 to the Lok Sabha and 133 to the allied services.

The random testing was done after a sudden spike in cases in the national capital, and most of the employees who tested positive did not show any symptoms.

“More random tests will be conducted for those coming to Parliament to control the spread of the infection,” the sources said.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat now restricts the presence of employees. As per the new guidelines, 50 per cent of the employees or officers below the rank of Under Secretary or Executive Officer are required to work from home.

Earlier, Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had both requested all employees to get double vaccination.