COVID-19: Parliament’s monsoon session likely to be curtailed, may end by mid-next week

Parliament’s monsoon session is expected to end on September 23 instead of October 1

September 19, 2020 06:02 pm | Updated 09:51 pm IST - New Delhi

A scene from the Lok Sabha as the supplementary demand for grants, 2020-21, was discussed on September 18, 2020.

A scene from the Lok Sabha as the supplementary demand for grants, 2020-21, was discussed on September 18, 2020.

All political parties have unanimously agreed to cut short the monsoon session of Parliament that was scheduled to end on October 1, at an emergency business advisory committee meeting called by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, owing to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The parties left it to Mr. Birla’s discretion on when to end the session, although sources indicated that it could end on Wednesday. A final decision will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.

At the beginning of the session, the government had listed 23 new legislations for consideration and passage, including 11 Bills replacing ordinances issued since March, when the Budget session ended.

The Lok Sabha has passed six Bills, including three agriculture-related legislations — the approval of which led to the exit of Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur from the Narendra Modi cabinet.

On Sunday, these three Bills — The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, will come up in the Rajya Sabha, where it is expected to sail through, since the Opposition barely has the numbers to put up a reasonable resistance.

According to sources, the Congress has demanded a discussion on COVID-19. The Rajya Sabha has already held a debate on the pandemic and its management. DMK MP T.R. Baalu has sought a discussion on the National Education Policy. The Trinamool Congress, meanwhile, has asked for a debate on GST in both Houses of Parliament. It is up to the presiding officers of both Houses to accommodate these demands within the next few days.

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