Sittings of the ongoing budget session of 11th parliament will be cut short further as around 100 staff and employees of the parliament secretariat and 12 MPs and ministers have so far been infected with Covid-19.
"In the face of growing number of staff and officials of the parliament secretariat getting infected with Covid-19, we have decided to cut short the businesses and sittings of the budget session as much as possible," Zafar Ahmed Khan, senior secretary of parliament secretariat, told The Daily Star today.
Of the 12 lawmakers, who got infected with Covid-19 so far, Awami League MP and former chief whip Abdus Shahid and Gono Forum MP Mukabbir Khan took part in at least two sittings of the budget session, sources at the parliament secretariat said.
Earlier, it was planned that the budget session will have 12 sittings -- having 20 to 22-hour discussions on the proposed budget for 2020-21.
But due to the prevailing situation, the budget session might have only four to five sittings with having discussions of the budget for eight to nine hours, sources at the parliament secretariat said.
"If the present situation deteriorates further, we may further cut short the sittings of the budget session," said an official of the parliament secretariat wishing anonymity.
According to the present planning, general discussions on the proposed budget might be held on only two days -- June 23 and 24 -- while the finance bill will be passed in the House on June 29.
It is the Business Advisory Committee of parliament that used to fix the business and duration of every session before the parliament goes into session.
But in the last and ongoing budget session, the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) was not held. Instead, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, chief of the committee, is taking decisions about the duration and other businesses of the budget session in consultation with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also a member of the committee.
There were only four sittings held so far in the eighth and budget session of parliament that started on June 10.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal placed the national budget for 2020-21 on June 11 and the supplementary budget was passed on June 15.
Suspending all other business of the sittings on June 14, the House adopted obituary motion on the demise of ruling AL MP and presidium member Mohammed Nasim and Sheikh Md Abdullah.
After June 15 sitting, the session was adjourned till June 23.
The general discussions on the proposed budget might take place on June 23 and 24 if Covid-19 situation does not deteriorate drastically, said sources at the parliament secretariat.
The finance bill will be passed on June 29 and the national budget will be passed on June 30.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury earlier told media that in the face of the prevailing situation, they will finalise how many sittings the budget session will have.
Usually the budget session continues for 30 to 35 working days having discussion on the general budget for 55 to 60 hours.