Question Hour to Make a Comeback in Odisha’s Budget Session

In the last two State Assembly sessions, the Odisha government had cancelled the question hour owing to the pandemic. However, the question hour is set to make a comeback in the upcoming budget session starting from February 18. This will be possible as a few of the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be relaxed.

Surya Narayan Patro, the speaker of the legislative assembly, stated the following points:

  • All COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed, but the COVID-19 test will not be compulsory for attending the session. “However, if anybody has symptoms of cold or other illness, he/she will have to undergo antigen test,” Patro added and said that everyone would be screened at the gates.
  • If any minister or MLA is not willing to attend the session physically, they are free to participate in the discussion through video conference from their offices; COVID-19 restrictions have not been lifted but relaxed.
  • All the existing guidelines, including social distancing, wearing masks and other protocols, will be strictly followed.
  • Sitting arrangements will be made by following social distancing norms and other guidelines. Adequate distance will be maintained between MLAs while sitting in the house.
  • The members have been asked to submit their questions in advance for the Question Hour.

The Budget Session will commence on February 18 and continue till April 9, 2021. State Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari will table the annual budget for 2021-22 on February 22. The session will have 31 working days.

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