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LS Speaker Birla tells agencies ahead of Budget Session

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New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Emphasising that utmost standards of sanitisation and fumigation may be made during the Budget Session commencing next week, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Saturday directed all agencies concerned to work in unison to contain the possibility of Covid-19 infection.

Birla’s direction came during inspection visits conducted at various facilities in the Parliament House complex. He visited the Lok Sabha Chamber, Central Hall, corridors, lobbies, waiting rooms and other areas in the Parliament House with officers of the Lok Sabha Secretariat, CPWD, and other agencies.

As the wearing of masks, use of sanitisers and sanitisation of all the places during the Session period is mandatory, adequate supply of qualitatively superior masks, sanitisers and other precautionary equipment and materials must be ensured in the Parliament House Complex, the Speaker said.

Birla also gave directions towards ensuring health precautions as per the Covid-19 protocols and directed that adequate testing centres for Members of Parliament may be set up in Parliament House Complex as well as at North and South Blocks, Pandara Road, B.D. Marg and other such areas close to the accommodations of Members of Parliament.

He also directed that all officials of the two Secretariats and officials of Ministers, who are required to visit the Complex during the Session, may also be extended the facility of RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests in the Complex. Similarly, all employees and workers involved in the construction of New Parliament Building may also be tested.

While inspecting the catering facilities run by India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) in Parliament House, Birla gave necessary instructions to the agencies concerned towards provision of clean, hygienic and nutritious food to Members of Parliament, media, officials of the two Secretariats and other visitors. He also directed them to ensure that utmost priority is given to regular sanitisation and fumigation of areas which are used for catering facilities.

He further took stock of the security arrangements in the Parliament House Complex and directed the concerned officials to ensure unhindered access to MPs.

The Budget session will commence with the President’s Address on January 29 while the Union Budget will be presented on February 1. The session will conclude on April 8 with a recess in between from February 15 to March 8.

The President will deliver his annual address to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament at 11 a.m. on January 29. The two Houses will meet separately for tabling of the President’s Address.

The Economic Survey will also be tabled in both Houses in this 30-minute sitting and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget at 11 a.m. on February 1.

Covid protocols will be followed in this session on the same lines as the Monsoon session last year.

Rajya Sabha will sit from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Lok Sabha will sit from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Zero Hour and Question Hour will be held.

The session is being held at a time when the government is grappling with the farmers’ agitation and vociferous demands from the opposition for the repeal of the three contentious farm laws.

–IANS

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