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Opinion

The peak of Covid-19 in the capital may affect the winter session

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NEW DELHI:

Rising cases of Covid-19 infections in the capital could overshadow the upcoming winter session of Parliament, said two officials with knowledge of the developments.

There is a possibility that the session, which normally begins in November and ends in December, will be affected by the Budget session that generally begins in the last week of January.

A senior official familiar with the meetings said there were concerns among MPs and, given the spread of the virus in the capital, it could be unsustainable to allow the parliament to function. “The monsoon session took place after a lot of deliberation and logistical details, hundreds of tests were conducted daily at the facility; Measures were taken to ensure physical distancing, extensive disinfection was performed, and yet there were several cases of infection. Now, with the increase in cases in Delhi, there is a suggestion from officials and some members of Parliament to reconsider holding the winter session, ”the official quoted above said.

Many MPs who do not live in Delhi and have to travel to the capital to attend parliament also expressed concern, the official said.

To be sure, the issue has yet to be formally discussed between Lok Sabha President Om Birla and Rajya Sabha President M Venkaiah Naidu; But the suggestion to postpone the session has been relayed to secretariat officials by some legislators, the aforementioned official said.

The winter session, whose schedule has not been officially announced, usually runs from November to December. It would have been the second parliamentary session, after the monsoon session, which took place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The monsoon session was scheduled to take place between September 14 and October 1, instead of its usual time in July, but had to be interrupted eight days after cases of Covid-19 infection were reported among MPs. , union ministers and staff. acting in Parliament. In total, at least 50 people connected to Parliament tested positive for the virus.

On the day the session began (September 14), new cases in Delhi averaged 4,001. In the last week, the daily average stood at 6,670.

A second official said there was no urgent matter to address during the winter session, nor any ordinance that would otherwise expire. “There is the possibility of a short session, as some officials have pointed out that the government has to seek the go-ahead of Parliament for additional spending in some sectors on the supplemental demand for subsidies. However, there is precedence to obtain a post facto ratification, ”said the second official.

PDT Acharya, a former secretary general of Lok Sabha, said that according to the convention, Parliament meets for three sessions in a year, the budget session, the monsoon session and the winter session, but there is no rule specifying the number of days or the period during which Parliament should meet. “According to the Constitution, the only requirement is that the gap between two sessions does not exceed six months,” he said.

Acharya also said that the government could explore the option of online sessions as Parliament’s proceedings are open and there is no secrecy involved.

Hindustan Times

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