New Delhi, Sep 11 (PTI) Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday underwent a compulsory COVID-19 test, ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament that starts on September 14.
It is mandatory for every member to undergo the COVID-19 (RT-PCR) test before attending the Monsoon Session, an advisory issued to all Rajya Sabha members said.
The members have been asked to get their test done within 72 hours before the commencement of the session. They can get themselves tested at the Parliament House complex or at any hospital or laboratory authorised by the government.
For the convenience of members, three test centres have been set up in the Parliament House annexe. They have been requested to send their test reports in advance to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat on a designated e-mail address to avoid inconvenience at the time of entry into the Parliament House during the session, the advisory said.
The RT-PCR test for COVID-19 is also mandatory for employees of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha secretariats, and personnel of agencies deployed at the Parliament House complex.
The advisory said that arrangements have also been made for rapid-antigen test for personal staff and drivers of MPs at the Reception Office of the Parliament House.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Naidu has been regularly reviewing the special precautionary and remedial measures taken to contain the spread of the COVID-19 infection, and ensure well-being of members during the session.
He has issued instructions to senior officials of the secretariat to not be complacent and to strictly adhere to the guidelines specified.
Risk mitigation and protection of the members' health has been among the main concerns, Rajya Sabha officials said.
The chairman has held meetings with the secretaries of the Union home and health ministries, chairman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to ensure safety of the members and officials.
To ensure social distancing, the Rajya Sabha chamber and its galleries, and the Lok Sabha chamber will be used to seat members during the session.
In the Rajya Sabha, 57 MPs will be accommodated in its chamber and 51 in its galleries, the remaining 136 will be seated in the chamber of the Lok Sabha. Four large display screens will be set up in both Houses of Parliament.
In all, there are 244 members and one seat is vacant.
Each seat has a microphone and a sound console to enable members to participate in discussions, and they will sit and speak.
Party or group leaders have been informed about the allocation of seats for members at the three locations.
In addition to the four large display screens, six smaller display screens and audio consoles have been installed in the four galleries, officials said.
To ensure safety of members and officials, Naidu called upon them to make full use of the e-notice facility and serve notices in electronic mode, instead of physically giving them.
It has also been decided to send various Parliamentary papers, including the list of business, bulletins, bills and ordinances to members only through electronic mechanisms.
Members can access their portal accounts for these.
The circulation of hard copies of these papers is being discontinued. Members may bring their e-reader devices to the House to refer to Parliamentary papers or carry print-outs of the same for their use, officials said.
The chairman has sought the cooperation of members and has urged them to strictly observe all health protocols related to COVID-19, as specified by different agencies.
The DRDO will provide multi-utility COVID kits to MPs. Each kit will contain disposable three ply masks (40), N-95 masks without wall (5), 20 bottles of sanitiser of 50 ml each, face shields made of polypropelene (5), gloves (40), touch free hook (to open and close doors without touching them), Sea Buck Thorn tea bags which enhances immunity and herbal sanitation wipes (a variant of tissue papers).
Marshals standing on both sides of the chairman have been advised to wear both masks and face shields while assisting the chairman, officials said.
The Chairman of the Department-related Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, Bhupender Yadav, submitted an interim report on the 'Functioning of Virtual Courts/Court proceedings through video conferencing' to the chairman at Upa-Rashtrapati Nivas on Friday. PTI SKC SKC ANB ANB