The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) has recommended the government to hold the Monsoon Session of Parliament from July 19 to August 13, news agency ANI reported on June 29.
The parliamentary session comes shortly after the country witnessed a second wave of the pandemic, in which the number of infections and fatalities due to COVID-19 exponentially soared.
The tenure of previous sessions of Parliament, held since March 2020, were curtailed in view of the coronavirus situation. The 2020 Winter Session was completely skipped considering the risks posed by the virus.
Ahead of the upcoming Monsoon Session, the data available with the Rajya Sabha Secretariat shows that 179 lawmakers - nearly three-fourth of the Upper House - have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Among Lok Sabha MPs, 403 out of the 540-member House have been inoculated with both doses of coronavirus vaccine. Among the remaining MPs, most of them have taken at least the first dose of the vaccine.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
With a larger number of lawmakers vaccinated, and the overall COVID-19 case count dropping sharply in the nation, speculations are rife that this session of Parliament could be more productive than the previous sessions.
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The Opposition is likely to attempt at cornering the government over its vaccination policy - which was at one point called by the Supreme Court as "irrational". The Centre, however, has since amended the immunisation strategy and has announced a target to inoculate all adults by December 31, 2021.
The issue of ongoing farmers' protests, which has entered into its seventh month, is also expected to be a point of verbal duel between the Opposition and treasury benches. With the upcoming five-state assembly polls in sight, including the high-stake Uttar Pradesh elections, the Parliament may also be witness to heated political debates.