Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who has been advocating allowing parliamentary committee meetings via video conferencing, on Monday rued that while Canada’s Parliament is holding sittings virtually, India’s cannot even permit virtual panel meetings.
Mr Tharoor, who is the chairman of the parliamentary committee on Information Technology, had earlier this month reiterated his demand to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla for urgently allowing parliamentary panels to make use of video conferencing for their meetings.
Citing Canada’s example, Mr Tharoor tweeted, “Canada’s Parliament meets virtually while India’s cannot even permit Committee meetings with much smaller numbers.”
“Since confidentiality is supposedly the issue with Committees, why not convene the whole Parliament, whose proceedings are normally televised anyway?” he said in the tweet, tagging Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
Canada’s parliament has gone virtual through the pandemic, assembling MPs across six time zones.
Every Tuesday and Thursday over the past month, 338 Canadian MPs logged into Zoom application from home to question ministers during the question period.
In his letter to Mr Birla, Mr Tharoor had said members of Parliament have a responsibility to the nation via their constituencies to ensure that they are carrying out their duties to the best of their abilities.
“Those duties clearly include, constitutionally, parliamentary oversight of government work. Time is of the essence, we need to get to work, but we must of course work with respect for the guidelines issued by our authorities to ensure social distancing is maintained,” the MP from Thiruvananthapuram had said.