"Allow Virtual Parliamentary Committees": Trinamool Reiterates Again

Citing the confidentiality clause, the centre has said no to opposition requests in the past.

'Allow Virtual Parliamentary Committees': Trinamool Reiterates Again

Called mini-Parliament, these Committees hold the government accountable on micro-issues (File)

New Delhi:

The Trinamool Congress has written another letter, its third, to both Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla underscoring the need to hold virtual meetings of parliamentary committees as the deadly second wave of the coronavirus sweeping through a wide swathe of the country has been worsening the health crisis.

Referred to as mini-Parliament, these Committees hold the government accountable on micro-issues.

"India has reported more than 3 lakhs new Covid-19 cases per day for the past two weeks. In light of the prevailing circumstances, I urge your good offices to reconsider our request for conducting virtual meetings of parliamentary committees including departmentally related standing committees, consultative committees and select committees," wrote Trinamool's Derek O'Brien, a Rajya Sabha member, in a letter dated May 7.

The earlier two letters were written in July and August last year.

Citing the confidentiality clause, the centre has said no to opposition requests in the past.

The chief Trinamool spokesperson, quoting from a letter received in August last year, pointed out that it was decided in a meeting that the matter regarding holding of virtual meetings of the Parliamentary Committees was to be referred to the Committees on Rules in both the Houses.

"I further request you to share any findings/decisions that the Committees on Rules of both the Houses may have reached," said Mr Brien.

The leader signed off his letter stressing on the need for the Parliamentary Committees to function virtually so that issues of public importance can be taken up "timely and discussed", adding for good effect, "especially in light of the serious circumstances in the country".

Last last month, Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, and Shashi Tharoor, IT Committee head, appealed to the centre to allow virtual meetings of the parliamentary panels.

On Saturday, international medical journal The Lancet said India had "squandered" its early successes in controlling COVID-19, and that Prime Minister Modi's government could preside over "a self-inflicted national catastrophe", and urged it to start "owning up to its mistakes".

The country has registered more than four lakh new cases in each of the past four days, and more than three lakh a day since April 22.