The Centre has said that there will be no Winter Session of Parliament this time because of the coronavirus crisis, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi confirmed the government’s decision in a letter to Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. The MP had made a demand for a short Winter Session to discuss the farm laws, which have triggered protests across the country.

“At present, we are in the middle of December and a Covid vaccine is expected very soon,” Joshi told Chowdhury. “In this regard, I have informally contacted floor leaders of various political parties and they have expressed their concerns about the ongoing pandemic and opined of doing away with Winter Session.”

Joshi cited the sharp increase in cases in Delhi last month and said that winter months were crucial for managing the coronavirus.

He also said that it would be appropriate to move straight to the budget session. “The government is willing to have the next session of Parliament at the earliest,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “It would be appropriate to have the Budget Session 2021 in January 2021 keeping in mind the unprecedented circumstances created by Covid-19 pandemic.”

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Joshi said the coronavirus crisis also delayed the Parliament’s Monsoon Session, but it still turned out to be “one of the most productive sessions of Parliament, with 27 Bills passed by both Houses in 10 continuous sittings”. The session ended seven days ahead of schedule on September 23 due to rising coronavirus cases.

Chowdhury, on the other hand, told The Indian Express that the government did not want to answer questions in Parliament as it was still indecisive about the farmers’ protest and other matters.

Meanwhile, the farmers protesting against the Centre’s agricultural laws camped out near Delhi for the 20th straight day on Tuesday. They remain adamant on the demand that the Centre repeal the three laws.

India’s coronavirus count rose to 99,06,165 on Tuesday as it reported 22,065 new cases in 24 hours. The country’s toll rose by 354 to 1,43,709.