No weekend break for MPs during monsoon session, House to function on Sat, Sun too

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In the upcoming monsoon session, the Parliament will function on Saturdays and Sundays as well, meaning the MPs will get no weekend break, according to an internal circular accessed by Hindustan Times on Wednesday.

The session that using begins in July was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will be held between September 14 and October 1.

While Parliament has earlier seen special sessions on Saturday, this would be the first time that a routine session will see lawmakers working on both Saturdays, and for the first time, on Sundays, as well.

Doorstep Covid-19 tests, the freedom to deliver a speech in the House while seated, options to undergo real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at their constituency before heading to Delhi, and one-way movement in the Central Hall and key corridors — these are some of the new measures for Lok Sabha MPs in the upcoming monsoon session, following Speaker Om Birla’s meeting with health sector experts last week.

The Rajya Sabha too, is likely to follow the same schedule.

On the first day, the Lok Sabha will start at 9am and continue till 1pm. After a gap of two hours, the Rajya Sabha will start at 3pm and continue till pm. However, for the next 17 days or the remaining part of the session, the Rajya Sabha will meet in the morning and the Lok Sabha in the afternoon schedule.

This has been done to efficiently transact business between the two Houses as bills need to be cleared by the other House after one house gives its approval.

HT was the first to report that the monsoon session would see daily shifts to ensure that lawmakers spent the minimum required time in Delhi amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has also been decided to do away with the Question Hour- the one hour slot for lawmakers to pose questions to different ministries, and private members’ bills to keep the maximum time for legislative business and discussion on key issues.

While the government needs to clear 11 ordinances—including the key ones on agriculture and banking—the Opposition wants to raise the India-China border tension, economic situation and alleged mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic by the government.

Last week, Lok Sabha Speaker met union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria, ICMR chief Dr. Balaram Bhargava and DRDO and Delhi government officials on Friday for a brainstorming session where he was quick to approve some new ideas, a top functionary aware of the proceedings at the meeting said on condition of anonymity.