House, govt to take call on Dy Speaker election: LS Speaker Om Birla

NEW DELHI: Amid the Opposition’s demand for the election of the Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said Thursday the house and the government have to take a call on it.
Talking about the monsoon session from September 14, Birla said holding the monsoon session this year was a challenge because of the Covid-19 pandemic but it will be “historic”.
“Holding the monsoon session was a challenge during the pandemic but we have to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities. We want Parliament to become more accountable and answerable to people,” Birla said at a press conference.
“This session will be a historic session as it being held in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our effort is to conduct the session as per the guidelines issued in the wake of the pandemic,” he added.
Birla said the Zero Hour will be of half-an-hour duration and there will no Question Hour but written questions could be asked and they will have to be answered.
When asked about opposition leaders asking about the Deputy Speaker election, Birla said he doesn’t have to elect and it is for the house and the government to decide.
The monsoon session of Parliament is scheduled from September 14 to October 1.
Hectic preparations are underway for the session with several first-time measures being taken because of the pandemic, such as testing of MPs, staggered seating arrangements in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and use of both chambers and galleries to accommodate the members. Birla said 257 members will be seated in the Lok Sabha hall, 172 in Lok Sabha gallery, 60 in Rajya Sabha and 51 in Rajya Sabha gallery.
He said attempts are being made to mimise the use of paper and MPs will mark their attendance digitally. Screen LEDs will be put up to conduct the proceedings smoothly.
Chambers will be sanitised and the MPS will have to undergo RT-PCR test for Covid-19 before the session begins, the Lok Sabha Speaker said.

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