With new COVID-19 norms, Parliament’s monsoon session likely from September 14

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The monsoon session of Parliament is likely to be held for two weeks between September 14 and October 1. As per the norm, there can’t be more than six months’ gap between two sessions of Parliament.

With the Budget session being adjourned sine die on March 23, the two Houses need to meet before September 22. The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs will deliberate on the matter soon.

Sources said a short monsoon session with only four hours sittings each of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have been planned. A total of 18 sittings of the two Houses are likely.

The secretariats of the two Houses have made elaborate arrangements to ensure compliance with coronavirus norms.

The MPs will be seated in a manner to ensure social distancing by utilising the spaces in chambers and galleries.

There will be restrictions on number of media persons covering the proceedings.  

Ex-MPs and attendants will not be allowed in Parliament premises.

The government is planning to make use of the weekends also.

The government will be keen to push through the legislative businesses for ordinances promulgated during the lockdown.

Besides staggered sittings, several first-time measures such as the use of both chambers and galleries to accommodate members while following physical distancing norms have been taken, officials had said.

According to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, members of the Upper House will be seated in both chambers and galleries during the session.

This is the first time in the history of Indian Parliament that 60 members will be seated in the chamber, 51 in the galleries of Rajya Sabha and the remaining 132 in the Lok Sabha chamber.

Similar seating arrangements are being worked out by the Lok Sabha Secretariat as well.

For the first time, large display screens and consoles for participation from galleries, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, special cables between the two Houses and polycarbonate separators will be put in place.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla at a meeting on July 17, after detailed examination of various options for holding the session, decided on using the chambers and galleries of both the Houses.

Naidu has directed officials to complete preparations for the session by the third week of August when testing, rehearsal and final inspection would be carried out.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat has been working overtime to ensure full preparedness, officials said.

While both the Houses usually function simultaneously, this time, one House will sit during the morning hours and the other in the evening, sources said.

The Budget Session had to be curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and both Houses were adjourned sine die on March 23.

As per precedent, Parliament has to be convened before the end of six months from the last session.

(With PTI Inputs)


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