Despite COVID-19, Speaker Om Birla hopeful of monsoon session to begin on time

Experts have opined that the session could be delayed until the last week of September.

May 10, 2020 04:06 pm | Updated 04:10 pm IST - New Delhi

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla conducts the Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi. File

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla conducts the Budget session of Parliament, in New Delhi. File

The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which normally begins in the last week of June or in the first week of July, may still be held on time, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Sunday, amid concerns that the coronavirus pandemic may delay its start.

Also read: Opinion | Why parliament must disperse immediately

Last year, the Monsoon Session ran between June 20 and August 7.

The Speaker underlined that it was a testing time due to the COVID-19 crisis, but expressed hope that the session could be held as per normal schedule.

“Despite COVID-19 crisis, I am hopeful that session could be held on time. But it will also depend on the situation prevailing at that time,” Mr. Birla told PTI .

Asked whether it will be possible to hold the session if there are strict social-distancing norms still in place in June-July, Mr. Birla said a way out could be found when that situation comes.

Mr. Birla, on whose initiative a control room was set up in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for better coordination between states in helping people, said this experiment turned out to be very successful as elected representatives from different states got in touch with each other and helped people from their respective constituencies who are stuck in other places.

Also read: Congress reiterates demand to close Parliament over COVID-19

“MPs cutting across party lines reached out to people and helped them during this pandemic-forced lockdown. They should be praised and I thank them,” he said.

Complimenting the country’s central leadership for effectively handling the crisis, Mr,. Birla said, “During this testing time, the leadership of our country got support from people and it also responded back by proactively handling the situation and working as per their expectations.

“Alongside the national leadership, chief ministers of various states have also very diligently handled the situation,” he said.

Experts have opined that the session could be delayed until the last week of September, as the Constitution allows a maximum six-month gap between two consecutive sessions.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Budget session had to be ended prematurely on March 23, over 10 days ahead of its last scheduled sitting on April 3.

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