Parliamentary standing committee meetings cancelled after 400 staffers test COVID positivetext_fields
New Delhi: After over 400 Parliament staffers tested positive for Covid-19 during random testing and with the rise in the cases in the national capital, the meetings of several parliamentary committees have been cancelled. IANS reports that the meeting of parliamentary standing committees on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice Chairperson, Urban Development, and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology have decided to cancel their meetings on Monday.
Decision to call off the meeting of the standing committee of External Affairs, scheduled later this week is likely to be taken later in the day.
The development comes days before the Budget session of Parliament, which usually begins in the end of January.
Earlier, also during the peak of Covid in the first and second wave, meetings of the standing committees had been called off. Several members have demanded to call a virtual meeting of the standing committee.
Over 400 Parliament staffers tested positive for Covid-19 during random testing. Of these, 65 are from the Rajya Sabha, 200 from the Lok Sabha and 133 belong to the allied services.
Random testing was conducted after a sudden spike in cases in the national capital and most of the staff found positive did not show any symptoms. "More random testing will be conducted for those coming to Parliament to control the infection," reports IANS quoting sources.
After the surge in cases among employees, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat has reimposed restrictions on attendance of officials and staffers. According to the latest directions, 50 per cent of officials and staff below the rank of under secretary or executive officer are required to work from home till the end of this month. They constitute about 65 per cent of the total employees.
Earlier, both the Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla had requested and ensured that all staff workers were vaccinated with two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
In a recent circular, the Lok Sabha Secretariat said 50 per cent of officers below the level of under secretary will attend office by rotation as decided by their respective directors.
The working hours of all employees who attend office on a particular day have been staggered between 10 am and 10:30 am with corresponding office exit timings to avoid rush in commuting as also in lifts and corridors.