Amid the repeated demands from the Opposition to defer the Parliament session owing to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Rajya Sabha reported 106 per cent productivity with a sitting of more than 30 hours in the last five days.
Both the Houses of Parliament will start at 2:00 p.m. on Monday due to dislocation of flight services on Sunday, when the country will observe a ‘Janata Curfew’ from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
As per the Rajya Sabha secretariat, while the majority of the institutions had allowed work from home, the House, with 44 per cent members 65 years or above, has actually sat for longer than usual. “The House sat for 30 hours and 28 minutes in its five sittings held over the week. Normally, the House is scheduled to sit for 28 hours and 30 minutes in a week,” a senior Rajya Sabha official said. The House saw disruption only on Wednesday, when the Congress protested against Digivijaya Singh’s police detention.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on the Coronavirus outbreak had counted “jan pratinidhi” or people’s representatives among essential services, effectively ruling out ending the Parliament session ahead of schedule. The second part of the Parliament session, which began on March 2, will end on April 3.
So far four Rajya Sabha members have gone into self-quarantine after coming directly or indirectly in touch with COVID-19 affected patients. “Public figures in self-isolation is not the story. What about those living pay check to pay check and can’t self-isolate; daily wage earners, domestic workers, drivers, security guards and lakhs in the unorganised sector,” TMC Rajya Sabha Parliamentary party leader Derek O’ Brien said in a tweet on Saturday. He is one of the four MPs to be in self-quarantine.