Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday conducted another round of mock session for the Rajya Sabha days ahead of the Parliament's Monsoon Session beginning September 14. This is the first time since 1952 that the session will take place under such a situation, amid the coronavirus pandemic, and several new steps have been taken to keep everyone safe.
A mock session of the House was conducted, with Naidu in the Chair, and the Chamber and the four galleries of the House occupied by the staff of the Secretariat as per the seating arrangements earmarked keeping in view the social distancing norms.
The transmission of audio and video signals from one Chamber of the House to the other was checked. A mock vote was also conducted by distributing slips in all three places. Naidu again advised all officials to follow the protocol set by the Ministry of Health.
This is the fourth round of mock drill conducted to ensure a smooth session.
Additions in the House include four large display screens in the chamber, six smaller ones and audio consoles in the four galleries, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, special cables connecting the two Houses for transmission of audio-visual signals, polycarbonate sheet separating the official gallery from the Chamber of the House.
The Rajya Sabha chamber and galleries and the Lok Sabha chamber will be used to seat members, 60 of whom will be accommodated in the chamber and 51 in galleries of Rajya Sabha. The remaining 132 will be in the chamber of Lok Sabha.
Political parties will be given seating instructions depending on their strength. Seats will be earmarked in the Upper House chamber for Prime Minister, Leader of the House, Leader of the Opposition and leaders of other parties. Designated seats will also be in the chamber for ministers. Two former Prime Ministers --- Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda -- are also members of Rajya Sabha and will be seated in the chamber. Ministers who are not Rajya Sabha MPs will be in seats meant for the ruling party and placards will indicate the parties accommodated in each gallery of the Rajya Sabha.
Seating in the Officials Gallery and Press Gallery will also follow strict norms of social distancing.