Budget Session to have Question Hour: LS Speaker Om Birla

Budget Session to have Question Hour: LS Speaker Om Birla

New Delhi: After facing criticism for not allowing Question Hours during Monsoon Session, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Tuesday said that the Question Hour, which was cancelled in the September session, will be allowed for a fixed duration of one hour.

While addressing a Press conference, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Tuesday that Houses will have staggered sittings like that in the monsoon session to ensure social distancing among members of the Parliament. Houses will have staggered timings. "Same as last time - Lok Sabha to sit at 4 pm to 9 pm and Rajya Sabha from 9 am to 2 pm," he added.

The Union Budget will be presented in Parliament on February 1 and the budget session will be conducted in two parts. The first phase of the session will begin on January 29 with President Ram Nath Kovind's address and end on February 15, while the second phase will commence from March 8 to April 8.

In another important decision, the Lok Sabha Speaker has announced that there will be no subsidy on food served in Parliament canteens for Members of Parliaments and others as it has been stopped. As per sources, the Lok Sabha Secretariat would annually save more than Rs 8 crore by ending the subsidy.

The Speaker also said that the Parliament canteens will now be run by ITDC in place of Northern Railways.

The Speaker further said that all arrangements have also been made for RT-PCR Covid-19 tests of MPs near their residence. In Parliament premises, the RT-PCR tests will be conducted on January 27-28, while arrangements have also been made for these tests of families and staff members of MPs. The vaccination drive policy finalised by the Centre and states will apply to parliamentarians as well, he said.

Notably, 17 members of the Lok Sabha and eight from the Upper House of Parliament had tested positive during the Monsoon Session, which had forced the government to cut short the session. The government had also cancelled the Winter Session of Parliament due to Covid-19 scare.

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