The Union government on Tuesday officially announced that the Winter Session of the Parliament will not be held this year, in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi, confirmed the same in a letter written on Monday to Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and indicated that “it would be appropriate to have the Budget Session, 2021 in January.”
“Winter months are very crucial for managing the pandemic because of recent spurt in cases during this period, particularly in Delhi. At present, we are in the middle of December and a coronavirus vaccine is expected very soon,” Pralhad Joshi stated in his letter to the Congress MP. He added that the government had consulted leaders of various political parties, who had also agreed to doing away with the Winter Session owing to the pandemic.
Joshi said “the government is willing to have the next session of parliament at the earliest”
The Minister’s letter came as a response to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Prakash Birla, seeking that a short Winter Session of Parliament be convened to discuss several issues, including the contentious farm laws and the COVID-19 vaccine.
"There are a number of very important issues that the nation is facing in present times. The most notable among them are the ongoing farmers' agitation and the status or preparation of the COVID-19 vaccine," the MP had said in his letter to the Speaker.
Pralhad Joshi in his response to the MP also noted that the Monsoon Session had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was held in September, following all the standard safety protocols and precautions. The session, Joshi said, “proved to be one of the most productive sessions of Parliament with 27 Bills passed by both Houses in 10 continuous sittings.”
The Parliament conducts three sessions each year. The Budget session is usually held in January/February to May. The Monsoon session in July to August or September and the Winter Session is usually held from November to December.