With Monsoon session of Parliament set to be held on a fully physical model, the Rajya Sabha will have additional installations – large display screens, audio consoles in the galleries, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, special cables connecting the two Houses for transmission of audio-visual signal – inside the chamber and in the galleries.
Sources said the Rajya Sabha secretariat was working overtime for the last two weeks to see that the arrangements were ready for testing, rehearsal and final inspection by next week. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has directed that the all the required installations should be in place by early this week.
Four large display screens of 85 inch size each in the chamber and another six of 40 inch size each in the four galleries of the House are being installed to enable members watch the proceedings of the House conveniently. All the seats in the galleries are being fitted with consoles to enable participation of members in the proceedings of the House from their seats.
Placards will indicate the parties accommodated in each gallery of the Rajya Sabha. Special cables are being laid connecting the two Houses of Parliament for transmitting audio-visual signals of the proceedings both ways without any time lag to enable real-time participation of members seated in the two Houses.
The Indian Express had reported on August 8 that the Parliament is expected to meet in September for the first time since March.
According to the plan, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will take turns to work — either as morning and evening shifts, or by working on alternate days. Of the Lok Sabha’s current strength of 542, 168 members will be seated in the Lok Sabha chamber, and the others distributed across the Lower House’s galleries, the Rajya Sabha and its galleries. Similarly, sources said, the 241 members of the Rajya Sabha will be spread across the chambers of the Upper and Lower Houses.
“All these arrangements mark the first of its kind session, which be held in compliance with the social distancing norm under the coronavirus induced restrictions,” said a source.
The Prime Minister, Leader of the House, Leader of the Opposition and leaders of other parties will have their seats in the Rajya Sabha chamber. Former Prime Ministers and former Leaders of the House Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, besides Union Ministers Ramvilas Paswan and Ramdas Athawale, will also have seats there. Other ministers will be accommodated in the seats meant for the ruling party.
Both Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had a meeting on July 17 in which they examined various options for holding the Monsoon session. As per the arrangements firmed up, Rajya Sabha chamber and galleries and Lok Sabha chamber will be used for seating the members of the House during the monsoon session. This include 60 members in the chamber and 51 in the galleries of Rajya Sabha (leaving out the first row) as per the social distancing norms and the remaining 132 – including the two members for whom a bypoll is pending – in the chamber of Lok Sabha.
Parties will be allotted seats in the chamber and galleries based on respective strength of the parties. The remaining will be seated in the chamber of Lok Sabha in two blocks meant for ruling parties and the others.
Seating in the official and press galleries also will have to follow social distancing norms – each will accommodate 15. While a limited number of officials will be seated at the Table of the House, reporters for taking down verbatim notes will be accommodated in the special box meant for foreign dignitaries. The three interpretation booths of Rajya Sabha will be integrated with audio systems for simultaneous interpretation for the benefit of the members seated in chambers and galleries.