Parliament's Monsoon Session set to begin with COVID-19 protocols
The 19-day Monsoon Session of the Parliament is set to commence on July 19 and will conclude on August 13, with all the necessary COVID-19 protocols in place. All Members of Parliament (MPs) will be required to follow coronavirus rules, though there will be some relaxations for vaccinated members. Here are more details on this.
All MPs will be required to wear face masks and follow social distancing norms at the Parliament premises. In order to ensure social distancing, a total of 280 Lok Sabha members can sit in the chamber, while 259 can be seated in the galleries. Both the Houses of the Parliament will proceed simultaneously and the timing is from 11 am to 6 pm.
However, restrictions have been eased up for vaccinated members. MPs who have taken at least one dose of the vaccine will not be needed to undertake the RT-PCR test, which was mandatory during the previous two Sessions. "We will request those who have not undergone vaccination to undergo test," Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla recently said at a press briefing.
Birla said 411 Lok Sabha (Lower House) members have already been vaccinated, of whom 312 have taken both the doses. "The rest of the members are yet to be vaccinated on medical grounds," he said. Meanwhile, 218 members of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) have also been inoculated, according to the sources cited by The Indian Express.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected all Parliament Sessions since last March, forcing early closure of last year's Budget and Monsoon Sessions as well as this year's Budget Session. The last Winter Session was canceled due to COVID-19. The Monsoon Session usually commences in July and concludes before the Independence Day. More than 40 Bills and five ordinances are pending before the Parliament, reports say.
Separately, Birla said a new app would soon be launched where House proceedings will be telecast live and data on questions, answers, and debates will be made available. "It will be a one-stop platform for all parliamentary matters. It will be launched soon, maybe during the Monsoon Session itself or immediately after it," Birla was quoted as saying.