COVID-19: Houses likely to function in shifts during Budget session of Parliament

Economic Times, January 12, 2022

Amid spike in COVID -19 cases in Delhi and over 400 Parliament staff members tested positive for COVID-19, the government has been forced to consider functioning of both Houses (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) in shifts for upcoming Budget session of Parliament.

Top sources of government told ANI on condition of anonymity that amid the increasing COVID-19 cases in country, it is necessary to implement COVID protocols strictly, hence, Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has sent proposal to run the Houses shift-wise in upcoming first half of the Budget session of Parliament that is likely to begin from January 31 and will continue to the second week of February.

Meanwhile, the Winter session, 2021 that began on November 20 and continued till December 23 functioned in normal circumstances as the cases of COVID-19 dropped.

The Budget session will emulate the health and safety protocols used in the earlier sessions since the emergence of COVID-19. “If parliamentary affairs ministry proposal is approved by the government, then both Houses: Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will function shift wise.Rajya Sabha will begin from 9 am and will continue till 2 pm in the first shift while the second shift Lok Sabha will begin from 3pm and will cotinue to to 8 pm except on Budget day. On Budget day, Lok Sabha will function in first shift,”sources told ANI.

Sources further told ANI, “the decision to run the Houses in shifts is taken to maintain social distancing in Parliament and MPs will sit in the halls of both the Houses keeping social distancing during functioning of House”.

Recently more than 400 staff members of Parliament have tested positive for COVID-19. Consequently, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha and Speakerof Lok Sabha has reviewed the situation and given instructions to both houses to prepare plan for smooth functioning of both houses during budget session of Parliament amid COVID -19 Pandemic.

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