Stating that parliament is meeting in extraordinary and challenging times due to the COVID-19 crisis, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Monday urged the MPs to make the Monsoon session “memorable” by enhancing productivity and responding to the expectations of “anguished people” who are keen to breathe normally and reclaim their social and economic space.
On the first day of the Monsoon session, Mr Naidu said the country rose as “Team India” to meet the situation and has been able to “minimise” the damage by the pandemic despite being the world’s second-most populous country.
Parliament is “seized” of the crisis as seven Rajya Sabha panels have discussed during the inter-session period the various aspects of the pandemic, contingent and mitigation plans, the preparedness of educational institutions and functioning of virtual courts during the pandemic, impact of the pandemic on tourism and civil aviation sector besides attracting investments in the post-COVID economy, he added.
Mr Naidu appreciated frontline workers for their dedication during the pandemic and farmers for record foodgrain production despite the COVID-19 challenges.
“We are meeting amidst challenging times that our nation has been going through along with other countries due to the COVID pandemic. COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest disaster to strike mankind since the Spanish Flu about a hundred years ago.
“The governments across the globe, medical and scientific communities and civil socities were caught unaware. The experts are still to claim to have mastered all aspects of this virus…,” he said.
Observing that this crisis has given a new normal, he said, “We have to live with social distancing norm and other precautions for some more time. As members of Parliament, it is our duty to help the fight against COVID-19 in the best possible way.”
He mentioned that despite being the second-most populous country in the world, India has been able to contain the damage due to the pandemic to the minimum both in terms of the scale of infection and mortality.
“I am happy to note that the nation rose as Team India to handle this crisis,” he said after which the House observed brief silence as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives due to natural calamities in 10 states during May-August period.
More than 1,000 persons have lost their lives and over 1.5 crore people have been affected besides heavy damage to crops and property due to heavy rains and other natural calamities in these states.
Asserting that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, the Chairman said this adage can”t be more true than in the present context.
“Let us make this session, happening in troubled times, really memorable one. This is my appeal to everyone at the beginning of the session,” he said and added all arrangements have been made for the smooth functioning of the session.
Mentioning that there is substantial business agenda before the Upper House for 18 sittings, Mr Naidu sought the cooperation of all MPs.
“I sincerely urge all of you to sustain and try to enhance high productivity record of this august House,” he said, it is because people have a lot of expectations from MPs in respect of providing valuable guidance in the management of pandemic, the revival of the economy and return of the normal social life.