Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday said that social distancing norms will be strictly followed in the monsoon session of Parliament in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and 257 MPs of the House will sit in Lok Sabha chamber, 172 in the visitors gallery and the remaining members in the Rajya Sabha chamber and its gallery.
Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will have sittings on the same day, with one house meeting in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
It is the first time in the history of Parliament that the two houses will have such sittings and different scheduled timing for their meetings.
Addressing a press conference, Birla said the sound system of both houses has been integrated for members to participate in the session.
"A total of 257 members will sit in the Lok Sabha chamber and 172 in the visitors gallery of the Lok Sabha. In the Rajya Sabha chamber there are arrangements for 60 MPs whereas 51 can sit in the visitors gallery of the Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha session will go on consecutively. Both houses will have screens for both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings. There are arrangements for having a virtual address in the Lok Sabha. The sound system has been integrated of both houses for all to participate in the session," he said.
The speaker said that sanitisation will be done on regular basis.
"All employees and officials too will be tested. All members will have to go for RT-PCR Covid-19 test. Attendance of parliamentarians will be recorded through a mobile app. There will be fibre-glass sheets separating their seats and those in visitors gallery will need to go to the podium on their turn to speak. Lok Sabha MPs sitting in the Rajya Sabha will have the option to use the sound system as it has been integrated for both houses," he added.
Birla said that parliamentarians and officials will try to limit the use of paper and go digital.
"The proceedings of the Lok Sabha for the monsoon session will begin from 9 am on September 14. The session will be conducted in two intervals -- from 9 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 7 pm. Zero hour will be for 30 minutes. We will try to minimise the use of paper and instead go digital," he said.
The monsoon session will commence from September 14 and conclude on October 1 without any day off.
Birla announced that 62 per cent of work regarding Parliament was being done digitally and it will be 100 per cent eventually.
"We will go 100 per cent digital eventually. For the first time in the history of Parliament, all members have sent their questions through online medium. We have successfully made 62 per cent of our operations digital," he said.
The proceedings, the speaker said, will be conducted amid appropriate security and by abiding to Covid-19 protocols.
"This would be a historic session. All our MPs have performed their duties amid people in this pandemic and now it is their turn to perform their duty in Parliament. I hope they will put forth their issues keeping in mind the wellbeing of the country. Our efforts are to conduct it successfully. We have consulted with the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats," he said.
"It is challenging for us amid pandemic but we have to prove ourselves to the people to whom we are accountable. We hope that we will fulfill the hope that people have reposed in us. The times are challenging. We need to keep people safe and also have to perform our duties in Parliament," he added.
According to official bulletins by the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, there will be no question hour and private members' business in both Houses of Parliament in the monsoon session.
Both the Houses of Parliament will sit for four hours daily adhering to coronavirus precautionary measures.
On the first day of the session on September 14, the lower House will meet from 9 am to 1 pm while sitting of the Upper House will be from 3 pm to 7 pm.
On subsequent days, proceedings in the Rajya Sabha will be held from 9 am till 1 pm while that of the Lok Sabha will be from 3 pm to 7 pm.