The second half of parliament's budget session is slated to end on April 3.
As the country goes into a complete lockdown to check the march of coronvirus, one institution — parliament — has been functioning, raising much protest from a section of opposition members. But with the number of COVID-19 cases going up rapidly, a decision on whether the house should keep running might be made tomorrow, government sources said.
The budget session of Parliament is scheduled to be adjourned on the April 3.
Tomorrow, the house will meet at 2 pm to pass an important legislation – the finance bill — which would allow the government to pay salaries and bills after March 31, for the next financial year.
Officially the government has said the house would stick to the schedule and continue running, but the pressure on it is mounting, with many MPs across party lines staying away from parliament.
The Prime Minister's announcement of a "Janata curfew" on Sunday – asking people to stay indoors for 12 straight hours – has given them more ammunition.
Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien, who has been repeatedly calling for an adjournmnt of parliament, tweeted.
Govt advisory asks people 65+ to stay home. Sunday curfew announced. And yet!
Why is #Parliament running? Why this confused messaging ?
About 44% MPs in RS and 22% MPs in LS are 65 and above. Ignore advisory ?
And you yourself mostly missing from Parliament floor #COVID
— Citizen Derek | (@derekobrienmp) March 20, 2020
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stood firm and strongly argued against it.
It would send negative signals to the people, "especially those working in emergency services protecting us from the Coronavirus," he said.
There have been questions whether the government was stalling a decision on parliament because of the situation in Madhya Pradesh, where the trust vote of the Kamal Nath government was pending. Mr O'Brien, whose party is one of the harshest critics of the BJP, said, "Why should parliament be running? Ask the Prime Minister. Is there a Madhya Pradesh link?"
After a tussle with the BJP that was settled in the Supreme Court, Kamal Nath resigned on Friday.
Some MPs are also unhappy with President Ram Nath Kovind violating the social distancing norms and hosting breakfast meetings for various MPs. They say this is continuing even when directives have been issued to not have large gatherings.
They argue the social distancing norms could have easily been adhered to and these non-essential meetings should be skipped by important citizens.