Parliament may skip winter session, reopen January-end, before Budget

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(This story originally appeared in on Nov 23, 2020)

NEW DELHI: With virus cases on the rise in the national capital, Parliament is unlikely to be convened before the last week of January, raising the possibility that there may be no winter session.

However, the Centre, sources told TOI, has decided to defer the winter session to next year, and club it with the budget session at the end of January. The budget is presented on February 1.

In September, the monsoon session was curtailed after several MPs as well as staff tested positive for the virus. The current thinking in government is that Parliament could be called closer to the regular budget session.

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A considerably delayed winter session, though, will not be a first. Parliamentary records show that out of 65 winter sessions of Rajya Sabha between 1952 and 2019, eight commenced in December and at least two, in 1962 and 1963, stretched from December to January.

In 1962-63, for instance, while the first part of the winter session met between November 18 and December 12, 1962, the second half met between January 21 and 25, 1963.

This was repeated in 2003, when Parliament met for the first half of the winter session between December 2 and 23, 2003, and then, between January 30 and February 5, 2004.

Records also show that at least four winter sessions started in the first week of December — in 1993, 2003, 2004 and 2013 — while the winter session in 2016 started in the third week and in 1990, the session only began in the fourth week of December.

However, with the unprecedented health crises posed by Covid-19, the Centre, sources told TOI, has decided to defer the winter session to next year, and club it with the budget session at the end of January.

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