The 2020 monsoon session of the parliament began today and will continue till October 1st. 2020 marks the first time when the session is being conducted in the midst of a global pandemic. Strict social distancing norms were followed. However, the all-party meeting was not held due to the spread of the pandemic.
There will be 11 bills replacing the slew of ordinances issued after March when parliament was adjourned indefinitely and then the countrywide lockdown was announced by PM Modi. The replacements will include the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Bill, regulation of support prices, Essential Commodities Bill, taxation, and the salaries of MPs and ministers.
The Question Hour has been replaced by written questions and answers will be allowed. The development has upset the opposition.
“Question Hour is the golden hour but you say that it can’t be held due to the circumstances. You conduct the proceedings but single out Question Hour. You are trying to strangulate the democracy,” Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said today in Lok Sabha.
In response to the opposition, parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said, “It’s an extraordinary situation. When assemblies aren’t ready to meet for a single day, we, with around 800-850 MPs, are meeting here. There are so many ways to question the government, the government isn’t running away from the discussion.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called special attention to the China border dispute before the session. “We hope parliament and all members will unitedly send the message that the nation stands with our soldiers,” he said in a statement.
The session was also attended by National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah after he was put under detention after the abrogation of Article 370 from J&K in August last year. Abdullah was released in March 2020.