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Covid: Budget session of Parliament may be curtailed

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may hold sittings in shifts during the session.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The sittings of the upcoming budget session of Parliament may be curtailed if the current wave of Covid and Omicron continues unabated.

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may hold sittings in shifts during the session.

Officials in the Parliament have begun reviewing arrangements for a smooth functioning of the two Houses during the session, beginning end of January.

A final decision on the working pattern may emerge around January 24-25, it is learnt.

During the peak of the pandemic, Parliament had to experiment with work in two shifts by the two Houses for their monsoon session in 2020.

The Rajya Sabha held its sitting, first, till 1 pm; its members occupying seats in the Lok Sabha chamber too, to meet the requirements of social distancing.

From 2 pm, after due sanitization of the two chambers, the Lok Sabha held its sittings, which sometimes went on late in the night.

The Lok Sabha members too occupied seats in both chambers and their galleries. This was the first session after the outbreak of the pandemic.

Already 500 employees of Parliament have tested positive during examination for Omicron and Covid infections in the past few days. Although the infections are generally stated to be mild, the employees are in self-isolation.

The absence of a large part of the workforce attached to Parliamentary work, may force the authorities to requisition staff from other departments.

In earlier sessions, the two Houses adopted various methods to complete their Constitutional work on time. Members and Ministers were asked to be brief in their speeches and seeking queries.

Earlier, the stress was on getting tested, and members of Parliament were asked to get themselves tested 72 hours before their arrival for the sittings. By now, almost all MPs are fully vaccinated against the infections.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has undertaken a review of the arrangements. He asked officials to arrange for any additional requirements of resources at the medical outposts in the Parliament precincts.