BENGALURU: In the next few weeks, with the monsoon session set to begin in Parliament as well as the Assembly, the government is up against a major challenge -- keeping House in the time of Covid-19.
For one, the seating has to be altered in accordance with social distancing norms. There is a proposal to use the public gallery for elected representatives and officials to keep the minimum distance. Temperature checks and sanitising will be implemented.
The monsoon session is expected to be held in June in both the Assembly and Parliament. The budget session was cut short due to the Covid pandemic in March. Sources said that suggestions are being tossed around on changes in seating arrangements. “We can use the public gallery for officials and members, and provide space between seats.
We need to arrange some mikes and earphones for members sitting in the public gallery, and can accommodate 224 members and a number of officials, while maintaining social distance. The monsoon session cannot be avoided,” the source said. Restrictions will be placed on the media in both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council during the session.
Union Parliamentary Minister Pralhad Joshi told TNIE that it is still too early. “We will take a call on holding the Parliament session,” he said, adding that they hope to hold the session as per schedule. Karnataka Speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri said that a decision is yet to be taken, and if the monsoon session is not held in June or July, it could be pushed to August.
The budget session, which was to conclude in March-end, was adjourned abruptly, and many bills, including the Budget, was passed without much debate. The coronavirus outbreak had reached Indian shores by then, and hygiene protocols were already in place, including sanitising both Houses, checking for temperature before representatives entered Vidhana Soudha, and keeping sanitiser on the ready at every corner.