New Delhi: The Budget session of Parliament begins Friday with the President of India addressing members of both the Houses seated in three different locations for the first time. The president's address begins at 11.00 am and will be telecast live using a total of 30 cameras of LSTV and RSTV with nine of them positioned in the Central Hall of the Parliament.
One hundred and forty-four members of Parliament will be seated in the Central Hall including the council of ministers, chairpersons of various committees of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, leaders of different parties and groups in both the Houses, former prime ministers and national presidents of BJP and Congress. The remaining members of Parliament will be seated in the chambers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as per the Covid-19 induced physical distancing norms.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu has taken Covid test ahead of the session and so have several members of Rajya Sabha. A total of 1,209 officials and staff of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat have also been administered the Covid test as part of the preparations for the Budget Session, which is the second to be held under Covid restrictions after the Monsoon Session last year.
Officials and staff numbering 715 of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, who are not directly connected with the proceedings of the House have been administered antigen tests while 494 associated with the proceedings of the House have been administered RT PCR tests. None has tested positive in the antigen tests and results of RT PCR tests are expected today. This is in sharp contrast to 64 officials and staff of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat having tested positive ahead of the Monsoon Session last year.
Mr Naidu has reviewed in detail yesterday the preparations for the Budget Session with the Secretary General and other officials of the Secretariat. He has directed that the personal staff of the ministers, members of Rajya Sabha and officers of the ministries visiting Parliament shall also be tested for Covid.
Rajya Sabha will meet at 3.00 pm tomorrow and one hour after the presentation of General Budget for 2021-2022 on February 1, 2021. On the remaining days, the House will meet between 9.00 am and 2.00 pm.