Rajya Sabha to take up LAC, economy

Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu chaired a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee on Sunday evening ahead of the 18-day monsoon session beginning on Monday.

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jairam Ramesh, Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien, and DMK leader Tiruchi Siva and others attended the meeting. From the BJP, Bhupender Yadav and Shiv Pratap Shukla participated.

According to sources, the Chairman agreed on having a debate on contentious issues of the state of the economy post-COVID-19 and the stand-off on the LAC. A detailed debate on the pandemic and health infrastructure will be taken up.

Eleven ordinances are on the agenda. The three agricultural ordinances, which the Congress and even the NDA ally Akali Dal are opposed to, have been allotted seven hours.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the “government was ready to discuss all issues”, and “appealed to all parties for cooperation”.

“Considering the sensitivities of the Indo-China matter, a meeting of leaders from both Houses will be held on Tuesday,” he said.

A second Business Advisory Committee meeting for the Lok Sabha will also be held on Tuesday to decide the time allocation for various debates.

Opposition lawmakers, already at loggerheads with the government over scrapping of Question Hour, said they would be pushing for discussions on the economy, the plight of migrant workers, and unemployment.

Among the ordinances coming up before both Houses would be what the government had termed its trio of Bills for agricultural reform — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the amendments to the Essential Commodities Act.

The election of the Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha will take place on September 14, with the NDA renominating Harivansh of the Janata Dal (U) and the Opposition putting up Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha.

Seating changes

Many COVID-19-induced changes have been made to the conduct of business.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will sit alternately in four-hour shifts (9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 7p.m.), apart from a host of measures to ensure that physical distancing is maintained. Each seat in the Lok Sabha and individual rows have been separated by polycarbonate sheets. Only 257 members will be allowed inside the Lok Sabha chambers, with another 172 allowed in other galleries. A total of 111 Lok Sabha members will be seated in the Rajya Sabha and participate via electronic communication. LED screens in both Houses will display real time transmission from the other House.

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