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COVID-19: Parliament monsoon session may begin September first week with new sitting plan

Members of the Upper House will be seated in both chambers and galleries during the session.

The monsoon session of Parliament may begin from the first week of September and is unlikely to see the two Houses assembling simultaneously as one is expected to use both the chambers for its sitting in view of the coronavirus pandemic, sources said on Monday.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi visited the chambers of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Monday to review the preparations for the session and the modifications made in view of the outbreak of the viral disease.

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To maintain social distancing, a new sitting plan is expected for both the Houses, sources said.
Rajya Sabha secretariat on Sunday said that hectic preparations are underway for the Monsoon Session of Parliament with several first-time measures in view of the COVID-19 pandemic such as staggered sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and use of both chambers and galleries to accommodate members while following physical distancing norms.

Members of the Upper House will be seated in both chambers and galleries during the session, it stated.

This is the first time in the history of Indian Parliament since 1952 that such an arrangement will be in place, where 60 members will be seated in the chamber and 51 in the galleries of Rajya Sabha and the remaining 132 in the chamber of Lok Sabha.

Similar seating arrangements are being worked out by the Lok Sabha Secretariat as well.

While both Houses usually function simultaneously, this time due to extraordinary circumstances, one House will sit during morning hours and the other in the evening, sources say.

The last Budget Session of Parliament had to be curtailed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and both Houses were adjourned sine die on March 23. As per precedent, Parliament has to be convened before the end of six months from the last session.

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