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Jagdeep Dhankhar, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, has appointed four female MPs as vice-chairpersons in the Upper House. The appointed MPs are PT Usha, Phangnon Konyak, Fauzia Khan, and Sulata Deo, all of whom are first-time members of the Rajya Sabha.

According to a statement from the Vice-President’s Secretariat on Thursday, the goal of this move is to achieve gender parity by ensuring that women make up 50 percent of the eight-member panel. This change went into effect on July 17 in preparation for the Monsoon Session. The other members of the panel are V Vijaysai Reddy, Ghanshyam Tiwari, L Hanumanthaiah, and Sukhendu Sekhar Ray.

Konyak is the first woman from Nagaland to become a member of the Rajya Sabha. Usha was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in July 2022 and is a member of the Committee on Defence, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and Committee on Ethics. Khan is affiliated with the NCP, while Deo is from the Biju Janata Dal.

According to the rules of the Rajya Sabha, the chairman is responsible for nominating a panel of no more than six vice-chairmen from among the members of the Council. One of these vice-chairmen may preside over the Council in the absence of the chairman and the deputy chairman when requested to do so by the chairman or, in his absence, by the deputy chairman.

This is the first time in the history of the Upper House that women members have been given equal representation in the panel of Vice-Chairpersons, the statement said.

The Rajya Sabha chair has also transitioned to a fully digital system from Thursday. The Chair will be using electronic tablets for matters related to the conduct of business of the House, attendance in the House, details of the members speaking, and other relevant information, the statement said.

Later in the day, Dhankhar chaired a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (Rajya Sabha), which includes Union ministers Pralhad Joshi and Arjun Ram Meghwal as members, in addition to Congress’ Jairam Ramesh, RJD’s Manoj Jha, and DMK’s Tiruchi Siva.

Divya A reports on culture, tourism, media, broadcasting, and visa.

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