NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha was adjourned for an hour on Monday after paying tributes to former President Pranab Mukherjee, a sitting MP and 13 ex-parliamentarians who died in the recent past.
The first-of-its-kind Monsoon session being held amid the COVID-19 pandemic saw members sporting masks and following social distancing guidelines while attending the proceedings.
As soon as the House assembled for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla paid glowing tributes to the departed leaders and security personnel who have laid down their lives while protecting the nation since March.
Birla also remembered "Corona warriors" like doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police personnel and voluntary workers who died while fighting the pandemic.
Apart from Mukherjee, the House paid tributes to sitting MP from Tamil Nadu H Vasanthakumar, eminent vocalist Pandit Jasraj, former MPs Gurdas Singh Badal, Nepal Singh, Ajit Jogi, P Namgyal, Paras Nath Yadav, Madhav Rao Patil, Haribhau Madhav Jawale, Saroj Dubey, Lalji Tandon, Kamal Rani, Chetan Chauhan, Surendra Prakash Goel and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.
The speaker then adjourned the House for an hour, after about 20 minutes of business.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, DMK leader T R Baalu, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and NCP leader Supriya Sule were among those who were present in the House.
The 18-day session is being held amid unprecedented precautionary measures in view of COVID-19.
India witnessed a single day spike of 92,068 COVID-19 cases, and 1,136 fatalities taking the country's virus caseload to 48,46,424 and death toll to 79,722 on Monday.
MPs attending the House had to undergo a COVID test and only those with a negative report were allowed to sit in the House.
The security and secretarial staff in Parliament also had to take coronavirus tests before their entry.
While on the first day of the session on Monday, Lok Sabha is sitting in the morning from 9 am to 1 pm, Rajya Sabha is sitting in the evening starting at 3 pm.
On the rest of the days, Rajya Sabha will sit for four hours in the morning and Lok Sabha in the evening.
The chambers of both houses and the galleries are being used for the session and big screens have been installed to enable members to witness proceedings.