Virtual meetings of Parliament Committees to be proposed

The conducting of virtual meetings of Parliament Committees is to be proposed, the Parliament Secretariat said today.

The Parliament is exploring the possibility of conducting virtual meetings of the Committees using digital facilities to meet the regulations and guidelines of social distancing if it is decided to continue further due to COVID 19.

A mock exercise was conducted by the senior management of the Parliament Secretariat with the participation of the Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake and Chief of Staff and Deputy Secretary General Neil Iddawala.

The process wishes to hold online meetings with a minimum number of participants where officials and other Government institutes can virtually be present at the meetings also enabling Members of Parliament, Government officials and general public to take part in the Committee meeting without travelling to Parliament.

The opportunity to virtually be present for meetings during non-sitting days where Parliamentarians will be able to participate in the meeting from their constituency without travelling to Parliament was also considered.

The Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake, commenting on the mock exercise conducted stated that many committee rooms are already equipped with the requisite camera facilities to live record, thus, the possibilities of conducting meetings digitally are being explored.

If social distancing regulations continues, the Secretary General further stated that meetings may have to be conducted virtually and the secretariat is in the process of identifying the shortcomings and the glitches in the technology.

The Secretary General of Parliament further emphasized that as the Parliament only consists of 8 committee rooms, thus conducting virtual Committee meetings will be useful in terms of reducing the congestion as well as saving a great deal of time and money. Accordingly, the Parliament Secretariat will continue to conduct a few more mock exercises to further enhance this process.

Secretary General of the Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake, also added that the secretariat wishes to propose the aforesaid as the ninth Parliament commences. (Colombo Gazette)