NEW DELHI: Parliamentarians, who have taken at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, will not be required to undergo RT-PCR tests to attend the Monsoon Session beginning on July 19. The Monsoon Session of the Parliament will go on till August 13. For the first time since the pandemic hit India in March last year, sessions of both houses of the Parliament will be held simultaneously, ending the two-shift routine followed since September last year.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday noted that 411 members have already taken vaccines and the rest are yet to do that mainly because of medical reasons. Officials of the Lok Sabha Secretariat have also been vaccinated, said Birla. Vaccination facility will be available in the Parliament House Complex. Birla said even though the high percentage of fully vaccinated members is a relief, there will be no laxity in observing Covid-appropriate behaviour. All members will be expected to wear masks inside and outside the chamber. No visitors or staff of MPs will be allowed inside the premises.
In the last two sessions, to maintain social distancing, Rajya Sabha met in the morning and Lok Sabha in the afternoon, with the members spread out in the two chambers. “The Lok Sabha will meet as per its usual schedule from 11 am and both Houses will sit simultaneously,” Birla said.The Parliamentary Secretariat, Birla said, has also developed an online application on which live telecast of House proceedings can be seen. People will also be able to access the questions and answers tabled in the Parliament.
In the last Monsoon Session, the Lok Sabha Secretariat had introduced another online application to allow the members to mark their attendance without having to physically sign the register.Speaking on the business transacted in the 17th Lok Sabha, the Speaker said that despite Covid, the Lok Sabha transacted record business during the first five sessions, compared to the previous Lok Sabhas. The 17th Lok Sabha has seen higher number of sittings that the 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabhas, which is reflected in the record productivity of the House. In this context, Birla highlighted that several members have done significant work during the Covid-19 period and their best practices will be shared for the benefit of others. After the pandemic began, three sessions of the Parliament were curtailed while the Winter Session had to be cancelled.
411 MPs taken the jab
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said 411 members of the Parliament have taken Covid-19 vaccines. Total strength of the Parliament is 795 (545 in Lok Sabha and 250 in Rajya Sabha)