Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday said MPs will be requested to get themselves tested for the coronavirus at least 72 hours before the monsoon session of Parliament and the seating arrangements would be based on the health ministry’s guidelines, PTI reported. The session is likely to start from September 14 and end on October 1.
Birla held a meeting with officials from the health ministry, the Indian Council for Medical Research, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Delhi government to finalise arrangements for the monsoon session, which will be the first since the coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed in March.
Besides MPs, all those who are expected to enter the Parliament premises, including officials from ministries, representatives from the media and staff of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats, will get tested for the infection, Birla said after the meeting. “Comprehensive arrangements have been made for holding the session,” he added.
Arrangements have made for zero-touch security checks during the session and if necessary random tests can also be conducted, the Speaker said.
On Thursday, Birla held a meeting with the secretary generals of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. In a series of tweets, Bira said he has directed all agencies concerned to work diligently for sanitisation and other arrangements amid the pandemic. “Smooth transaction of business of Parliament during monsoon session is our priority,” he added. “Necessary protocols are being prepared for members and their staff. Guidelines are also being formulated for Parliament officials. All guidelines pertaining to social distancing will be adhered to during session.”
Reports said each house would sit for four hours per day – with one session in the morning and another in the evening. Seats will also be earmarked for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leaders of the House and the Opposition. There is, however, no official notification yet.