Exempt panel members from quarantine: MPs

“The biggest problem before our MPs in travelling for committee meetings are the quarantine rules. These are different for states. We have written to Rajya Sabha chairman asking MPs travelling to Delhi may be exempted to enable them to attend,” s...

Agencies
Trinamool Congress has once again raised the demand for virtual hearings pointing out that if presiding officers have the powers to take a call in favour of such hearings.
New Delhi: The Opposition has sought exemption from quarantine rules for members of Parliament planning to travel to Delhi to attend parliamentary standing committee meetings.

The standing committees’ chairpersons have been slating meetings of the panels but they are being cancelled 2-3 days before the scheduled date. Deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, who heads parliamentary standing committee on home, told ET, “The biggest problem before our MPs in travelling for committee meetings are the quarantine rules. These are different for states. We have written to Rajya Sabha chairman asking MPs travelling to Delhi may be exempted to enable them to attend.”

Standing committees on labour and petroleum had slated meetings in June but were cancelled at the last minute. At present, meeings have been slated for standing committee for petroleum and natural gas (headed by BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri, July 7), information technology (headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, July 14) and public accounts committee (headed by Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, July 10). Lok Sabha secretariat sources told ET that members have been expressing inability to travel following quarantine rules. Seeing the increase in Covid-19 cases, the state governments have been tweaking rules for domestic travellers.


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Any asymptomatic MP travelling to Delhi would be required to isolate at home for seven days. After attending the meeting, he would be required to return home and follow the quarantine rules of the home state. Most states have a mandatory period of 7-14 days of home isolation for any inbound domestic traveller. Karnataka, for instance, has a mandatory 7-day home isolation for domestic travellers (except those coming from Maharashtra in which case they have a requirement of mandatory institutional quarantine).

Trinamool Congress has once again raised the demand for virtual hearings pointing out that if presiding officers have the powers to take a call in favour of such hearings.
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