With soaring COVID figures in Delhi that forced CM Arvind Kejriwal to rush to seek the Centre's help for additional ICU beds and more doctors, the government is "actively considering" not convening Parliament's winter session this year.
Senior government sources privy to deliberations say that the next Parliament's session is going to take place in the last week of January, 2021. However, there are deliberations taking place about whether to merge the winter and budget sessions together and have a relatively long session or go straight to the winter session.
"Nothing has been finalised yet. But the worry over the Covid situation in the national capital remains. All the more so, given the current spate of cases which are much more than in September when the government was forced to cut short the session even when cases in Delhi were far less," a top government source said.
The rule says the government has to convene a Parliament session within six months of the last-held Parliamentary session. In that respect, the government has no compulsion to convene a session immediately.
There have been no deliberations about any Parliament session between Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha Speaker Venkaiah Naidu so far.
The government says it is mindful of more than two dozen members of Parliaments being tested positive at the outset and later during the last session. A sitting Minister of State -- Suresh Angadi too was tested positive and subsequently succumbed. Government sources say, it is also mindful of instances of panic among members after one of the Rajya Sabha speakers was tested positive after having taken part in discussion in the house.
"Pragmatism says a Parliament session this winter, when cases are expected to further spike, particularly in Delhi, is not a good idea," added the source.
He added that the government, while "actively considering" against holding any session before next year, acknowledged the large number of Parliamentary staff who got infected in the last session and can again test positive should a winter session be convened now.
India now has 4,65,478 active cases. Meanwhile, Delhi's corona tally has reached 4,85,405 cases whereas 96 more fatalities pushed the national capital's death toll to 7,614.
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