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Parliament's Monsoon session set to end on Wednesday only

Tuesday - September 22, 2020 9:56 pm , Category : INDIA
New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) The Monsoon Session of Parliament will be adjourned sine die on Wednesday, considering safety of parliamentarians against the backdrop of rising number of Covid-19 cases across the country, it has been learnt.
As all the major Bills, including those replacing ordinances, have been passed by both the Houses till Tuesday evening, political party sources and secretariat officials indicated that both the Houses will curtail their proceedings on Wednesday -- eight days before the scheduled conclusion of the session.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla's special announcement to hold the lower House proceedings at 6 p.m. on Wednesday - three hours later than the scheduled time - also signalled the plan to cut short the session which was set to conclude on October 1.
"I want to inform the members that the proceedings of the House will begin from 6 p.m. on Wednesday," Birla announced after the House unanimously passed the Jammu and Kashmir Official Language Bill, 2020.
Sources said the lower house is likely to adjourn its proceedings after taking up a few matters, including Zero hour.
As per information, the Rajya Sabha is also likely to adjourn sine die after taking up five bills on Wednesday, sources said on Tuesday.
The Monsoon Session, which began on September 14, has witnessed passage of several major bills moved by the government, including contentious farm Bills and three crucial codes on labour laws and those which sought to replace ordinances issued in the last six months.
Sources said that the decision to cut short proceedings of the Monsoon Session has been conveyed to floor leaders of all parties in the Lok Sabha. The move followed the decision taken by all political parties in a Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Parliament on Saturday.
As over two dozen Members of Parliament, including Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Prahlad Patel, and several parliament staffers have tested positive for Covid-19 during the session, Opposition parties had conveyed to the government that conducting the full 18-day session could be a risky affair.
Earlier, it was decided that 18 sittings of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will be held and both the houses will conduct their session for four hours separately everyday without any off. As decided for the Monsoon Session, the Rajya Sabha runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Lok Sabha functions from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Timings of the Lok Sabha were, on many occasions, enhanced by permission of members.
In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus within the parliament complex, reporters and parliamentary staff entering the premises now have to undergo the rapid antigen test mandatory on a daily basis, according to a new protocol put in place.
The Budget Session of Parliament was also cut short in March due to the coronavirus outbreak which so far has infected 55,62,663 people across the country.

--IANS rak/vd