Have informed discussions on pandemic to better prepare for possible third wave: Venkaiah Naidu to MPs

“I appeal to all sections of the House to ensure a meaningful monsoon session that got underway today,” says Mr. Naidu

Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday urged members to have informed discussions on all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic so that the country is better equipped to tackle the possible third wave.

The monsoon session, which has 19 sittings scheduled, assumes enhanced significance in the context of the prevailing situation in the country and the suffering of the people further compounded by the possible third wave, he said.

Asserting that Parliament cannot afford to let the people down in their hour of pain and suffering, Mr. Naidu said, “I appeal to all sections of the House to ensure a meaningful monsoon session that got underway today.”

“What is at stake is the credibility of Parliament and its members,” he said and added, “Let us be conscious of the immense responsibility cast upon all of us”.

In his opening remarks on the start of the monsoon session, he noted that “for about a year and half, the people of India and across the world have been passing through a COVID-19 crisis. This disease has not only dented the health of the people but also the economies across the globe”.

“…The people are living amidst unprecedented uncertainty and there is no certainty as yet about this uncertainty. …Amidst this uncertainty, Parliament needs to assure the people of required support of all kinds with necessary interventions,” Mr. Naidu said amid commotion in the House.

The need of the hour is to learn from the experience of first and second COVID-19 waves so as to be better equipped for the possible “fresh bouts” of the pandemic that are being talked about.

“Both the government and all sections of the House need to constructively ponder over the course of events since the outbreak of the pandemic last year through informed discussions on all aspects of the problem,” he said.

It then logically follows that all members of the House have to make the best use of the opportunity provided by this session, he said.

Mr. Naidu said, “Ultimately, we shall collectively overcome this challenge of the invisible coronavirus that has exposed the limits of modernity and our ways of living and attitudes as well.” Noting that since the Budget session last year, three sessions had to be curtailed and the last winter session could not be held, he said, “We hope to run through this Monsoon session in full.”

Mr. Naidu said people are living under the pandemic-induced stress since last year and they look up to the Parliament in their quest for meeting their aspirations and alleviating their suffering.

Noting that the second wave of the pandemic has tested the country severely, the Chairman said the governments and all others concerned had to work overtime to address the bottlenecks in the health infrastructure.

“Despite our best efforts, a good number of precious lives have been lost,” he said.

Mr. Naidu said that in the meeting of leaders of various parties and groups on July 18, all sections had expressed a keen desire for smooth functioning of the House during this session.

“I hope that such noble intentions will manifest on the floor of the House,” he said, urging all MPs to demonstrate their commitment and responsibility towards the people in their hour of need by doing the needful during this session.

“We are all on test and I hope we acquit ourselves creditably by ensuring a productive Monsoon session,” he said.

The Chairman said the pandemic has been contained to the extent of adversity in the form of infections and mortalities through the collective efforts of the people, government and stakeholders concerned.

“As a result of such collective efforts, our country compares favourably with many nations including those better endowed in terms of resources of all kinds. But there is no place for complacency,” he said.

On Covid protocol, the Chairman said it was followed during the last session and will be applicable for this session as well.

No visitors are being allowed to witness the proceedings of the House. Parliamentary papers and reports will not be circulated in physical form to avoid infections, he said.

Mr. Naidu also informed that 224 members of Rajya Sabha, accounting for 97% of the total have taken vaccination including 207 who have taken both the doses and 17 who took the first jab.

“Others are still to be vaccinated for medical reasons. I still appeal to all of you to adhere to the norms of Covid appropriate behaviour and lead by example,” he said.

The Chairman also said that there has been “visible improvement” in members’ attendance and duration of the meeting of department related standing committees..

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