Monsoon session of Parliament: Over 1k officials being screened

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Officials are being screened for Covid-19 to ensure highest health safety standards during Parliament’s monsoon session that will commence from September 14, people aware of the matter said. The process began on Saturday last and would cover over 1,000 officials who would be involved in conducting the session, they added.

The officials are key to the packed 18-day session with no weekend breaks, no Question Hour and possibly no provisions for tabling private members bills. Both Houses will function daily until October 1 from 9 am.

Covid-19 tests have been made mandatory for all officials as they would be in touch with the Parliament members and have access to VVIP areas. The officials have also been asked not to take photographs during the screening and maintain secrecy about the process.

The session is Parliament’s first amid the global pandemic and will involve a logistical overhaul and unprecedented seating arrangements extending up to chambers and galleries as well.

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation in the air-conditioning system to inactivate microorganisms, 10 display screens for live proceedings, special communication cables linking both Houses, designated seats only for top leaders will be part of this mega process to ensure a smooth session.

Lok Sabha, Parliament’s lower House, is also planning doorstep Covid-19 tests for lawmakers and to allow them make speeches in the House while seated. The lawmakers also have an option to undergo real-time polymerase chain reaction tests in their constituencies before heading to Delhi.

Visitors would also not be allowed during the session and the strength of Parliament staff and media would be reduced to ensure no large gatherings.