The Budget Session of the Parliament began on Monday with the speech of President Ram Nath Kovind. He highlighted the role of women’s participation in the progress of the nation. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget for 2022-23 on Tuesday. The Lok Sabha Budget Session began on Monday and would end on 8 April, with the first half of the session lasting until 11 February.
Listing women empowerment as one of the top priorities, Kovind said: “The present government has focused on developing several schemes to ensure a safe space for women to promote entrepreneurship and skills. Schemes and initiatives like the ‘Mudra’ and ‘Beti Bachao, Beti padhao’ Andolan have also led to successful results. Such initiatives have resulted in significant improvement in the enrolment of girls in the school.”
He also spoke about empowering Muslim women by ending triple talaq. While addressing both the Houses on the first day of the Budget Session, President Kovind said: “The government has made a beginning to liberate society from the manifestly arbitrary practice of triple talaq by making it a criminal offence. Restrictions on Muslim women from performing the Haj only with Mehram have also been removed.” To promote equality, the Centre has also increased the age from 18 to 21 for marriages.
Also, 33 Sainik schools have started admitting girl students and the present government has also approved the admission of girls in the National Defence Academy. “The first batch of women cadets will enter the NDA in June 2022. With the policy decisions and encouragement of my government, the number of women personnel in various police forces has more than doubled as compared to 2014,” he said.
Also, the banks offered the financial help of Rs 65,000 crore to more than 28 lakh self-help groups in 2021-22, which is comparatively higher than the 2014-15 financial year. Many women have also contributed to connecting banking services in several rural areas.
VP NAIDU HOLDS VIRTUAL MEET
Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu held a virtual meeting with the floor leaders of 15 political parties. According to sources, Naidu stated that during the ten sittings in the first part of the Budget Session till 11 February, only 23 hours of time will be available for business other than Zero Hour, Question Hour and Private Members’ Business. “Discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President for his address to members of both the Houses today and discussion on Union Budget 2022-23 to be presented tomorrow will get priority during the first part of the session,” sources said.
He said the leaders that these two major items of business took a total time of over 26 hours during the last budget session and 23 hours’ time is available for the same in the first part of this budget session.
Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, Piyush Goyal said that due to time constraints, there would be no legislative business in this part of the session.
Many leaders mentioned the same priorities for the first part of this budget session and called for a disruption-free session.
The meeting of the Rajya Sabha’s Business Advisory Committee would take place on Tuesday after the presentation of the Union Budget to allocate time for the two discussions that would take place in this first part of the Budget Session.
Meanwhile, Opposition party Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Prasanna Acharya urged all parties and members of respective parties not to disrupt Zero Hour and Question Hour since Chairman Naidu has been endeavouring to give opportunities to as many members as possible thereby enabling wider participation of members of Rajya Sabha.
OPPOSITION OBJECTS TO PAPERLESS BUDGET
Several Opposition parties in the Business Advisory Committee meeting that took place early on Monday afternoon chaired by the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, objected to the government presenting paperless Union Budget and Economic Survey.
Sources said that these Lok Sabha leaders conveyed to the government via the Speaker that it would be impossible to download every document from the Internet, read it and process it in time for reactions. As per the sources, privy to the details of the meeting Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury floor leader of the Lok Sabha for the Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay from the TMC, Vinayak Raut from Shiv Sena, and Supriya Sule of NCP were some of the leaders who spoke about the subject.
Vinayak Raut told a news agency, “Our concern is very genuine and we have requested the Speaker to intervene so we will hope that at least the part one speech of the finance minister is given to us in a physical copy.”
WITH AGENCY INPUTS