Parliament Secretariat senior management at the mock exercise
- Officials says if COVID-19 regulations remain in place once new Parliament commences, online platforms will be used for committee meetings
- Says this will save time and money and enhance participation of MPs, officials and members of the public
Parliamentary officials are exploring the possibility of conducting virtual meetings of committees using digital facilities if the regulations relating to COVID-19 remain in place when the new Parliament meets.
A mock exercise in this connection was conducted by 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 on Monday.
The idea is to hold online meetings with a minimum number of participants where officials and other Government institutes can be present at the meetings, also enabling Members of Parliament, Government officials and the general public to take part in the committee meeting without travelling to Parliament.
The online meetings will also allow MPs to participate in meetings during non-sitting days even if they are in their constituency.
SG Dasanayake said that many committee rooms were already equipped with the camera facilities for live recordings, thus the possibilities of conducting meetings digitally were being explored. If social distancing regulations continue, the Secretary General stated that meetings may have to be conducted virtually and the Secretariat was in the process of identifying the shortcomings and the glitches in the technology.
He noted Parliament had only eight committee rooms, thus conducting virtual committee meetings would be useful in terms of reducing the congestion as well as saving time and money. Accordingly, the Parliament Secretariat will continue to conduct a few more mock exercises to further enhance this process.
Dasanayake said the Secretariat would propose the plan once the ninth Parliament commences sittings.