New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Tuesday urged the presiding officers to sensitize the members of all the democratic institutions in their states including assemblies, panchayats and municipalities to conduct public awareness campaigns about COVID-19 so that citizens can be protected against the pandemic.
He stressed that public representatives should make persistent efforts to clear any misconceptions or confusions that the public may have about the vaccine.
The Speaker held a virtual meeting of All India Presiding Officers Conference today and discussed the working of state legislatures with their presiding officers.
He had held a similar meeting in a virtual mode in April this year on the role of public representatives during the COVID pandemic.
A Lok Sabha release said that Birla informed the presiding officers about the initiatives taken by the coaching institutes in Kota under which free coaching has been arranged for the children who lost their parents during COVID-19.
Besides this initiative, he also mentioned about the arrangement of free accommodation for the children of families facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.
Observing that in the last two years, many new initiatives have been undertaken in the Lok Sabha, Birla said that it has been his endeavour to enable members to participate in House proceedings more effectively and to improve the quality of discussions.
He said that in the first two years of the 17th Lok Sabha, the productivity of the House has been more than 122 per cent.
He noted that changes have been made in rules with respect to matters under Rule 377, due to which the members now get answers to more than 90 per cent of matters raised.
He expressed happiness that answers to most of the issues raised during Zero Hour have started reaching the members, due to which the issues relating to their constituencies have received positive results.
The Speaker noted that conducting parliamentary sessions has been a major challenge during COVID-19.
The fourth and fifth sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha were held amid the pandemic.
Birla expressed satisfaction that a lot of progress has been made in the Parliament towards adopting digital media.
Whereas earlier 40 per cent of the questions were received through e-notices, now more than 90 per cent of the questions are being received through e-notices.
He said that it is a matter of satisfaction that live proceedings in the legislative assemblies and legislative councils of all states are now being telecast through social media and other digital means.
Birla also noted that the Research Division of the Parliament has actively worked towards providing relevant information on policy matters and other topics to Members of Parliament in the form of online research, references, legislative and background notes.
He said that the Parliament Library has started home delivery of books for members.
The Speaker said that emphasis is also being laid on the maintenance and study of historical debates in the Parliament so that their reference can be taken at appropriate times. (ANI)