The Parliament is taking steps for smooth conduct of its Budget Session from 29 January, the second to be held during the Covid-19 pandemic, and will have 12 and 21 sittings in its two phases. President Ram Nath Kovind will address a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament on 29 January as usual.
The MPs will sit in the chambers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and their galleries, besides the Central Hall of Parliament, which was the sole venue of the event earlier.
The first phase of the session will run up to 15 February, after which there will be a three-week recess to allow Parliamentary Standing Committees to examine the Budgetary demands. The second phase will run from 8 March to 8 April.
Speaker Om Birla told newspersons after a review of arrangements for the coming session that RT-PCR tests for all Members of Parliament shall be performed on 27 and 28 January in Parliament House Complex, and arrangements will be made for the tests close to the residences of the MPs also.
Birla said the standard operating procedures as per Covid-19 guidelines will be followed this session also. The Rajya Sabha will sit from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. while the Lok Sabha will sit from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Question Hour and the Zero Hour, which could not be held during the last Monsoon session due to the severity of the pandemic, will have their normal run in the Budget session.
Replying to questions, the Speaker said the General Budget documents and the Economic Survey will be released digitally only.
Birla said the Central Hall will be open to MPs only during the session. He said the MPs will be covered by the vaccination programme being run by state and Central governments like normal citizens.