Parliament to function in two shifts during Budget Session
Amid the third wave of COVID-19, the Parliament will resort to a shift system for the first phase of the Budget Session that begins January 31. Reportedly, the Rajya Sabha (RS) will function in the morning while the Lok Sabha (LS) will work in the evening for five hours each. All COVID-19 protocols will be in place during the session.
Why does this story matter?
- Rising COVID-19 cases have again forced the two Houses to work in a phased manner during the Budget session.
- Both Houses of Parliament will function at separate times of the day to ensure social distancing norms.
- The same process was followed in 2021 and 2020.
- Notably, the Budget Session is the longest sitting of the Parliament.
RS chair, LS speaker decided on plan: Official
RS Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu and LS Speaker Om Birla decided to implement the plan that was adopted during previous sessions, said a senior official to Hindustan Times (HT). "For the Budget session, RS to meet first and LS later in the day, as was the case for 252nd session in 2020 and the first half of budget session in 2021," the official said.
Schedule for Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
President Ram Nath Kovind will address the joint sitting of both Houses at 11 am on January 31. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will deliver the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha at 11 am on February 1. The Lower House is scheduled to meet every day from 4 pm until 9 pm. The schedule for Rajya Sabha is yet to be determined.
875 staffers test positive for COVID-19
As many as 2,847 COVID-19 tests were conducted at the Parliament complex ahead of the Budget Session and 875 staff members tested positive. M Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India and the Rajya Sabha chairperson, had also tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. "He (Naidu) has decided to remain in self-isolation for a week," read a tweet from Naidu's secretariat.
Aim to ensure lawmakers remain safe: Official
"Our main target is to ensure lawmakers and other people who come to Parliament remain safe," an official told HT. The new rules have been implemented to reduce crowding and maintain social distance during the session, he added. The official said the same schedule might be followed this year which was followed during the Monsoon Session of 2020.
COVID-19 cases across India
India reported 2,55,874 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, 50,190 less than the previous day. The active caseload stands at 2,236,842 while the daily positivity is 15.52%. As many as 2,67,753 recoveries were recorded in the last 24 hours. A total of 614 people died from the virus during the period. Separately, 162.92 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far.