Parliament Budget Session 2018: President Kovind Hails Govt Achievements In 1st Joint Assembly Address

| January 29 , 2018 , 12:40 IST

President Ram Nath Kovind made his first address to a joint sitting of members of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Monday marking the beginning of the Budget Session of Parliament 2018. 

During the address, President Kovind highlighted the achievements of the government, including expanding connectivity, setting up common service centres, the 'Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojana', Start Up India, Stand Up India, Skill India, Pradhanmantri Mudra Yojana and the Aadhaar identification cards.

"Baba Saheb Ambedkar used to say that without economic and social democracy, political democracy is unstable. It is our duty that when we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary in 2019 we pay tribute to him by making our country completely clean, said President Ram Nath Kovind.

"The government is committed to double the income of farmers by the year 2022. Government increased minimum wage of labourers by more than 40 per cent,"  he said.

"I appreciate the soldiers and offer condolences to those who lost their lives in action. J&K Police, defence and paramilitary forces are working together to fight terrorism in J&K," President Kovind said.

He also expressed his views on the debated topic of conducting simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, saying, "There should be a debate on carrying out simultaneous elections, all political parties need to arrive at a consensus on this.

The Parliament Budget Session 2018 begins on Monday and will continue till February 9 with the Union Budget being presented on February 1. The second leg of the Budget Session of Parliament will take place from March 5 to April 6. The Union Budget presented on February 1 will be the last full-fledged budget presented by the NDA government before the 2019 general elections.

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Facing flak from the Opposition on issues such as job creation and the plight of traders, the government is planning to push for several key bills including banning instant triple talaq, and granting constitutional status to the Commission on Other Backward Castes during the Parliament session.

Meanwhile, the Opposition is planning to raise concerns on rising incidents of rape,  the alleged "attack" on constitutional institutions apart from the plight of traders.

"We want to raise these issues as they are important. The government should adopt a cooperative attitude and allow the opposition to raise these issues," Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said.

The focus of the union budget is expected to be on job creation, small businesses and rural schemes after the gross domestic growth forecast for the year ending March 2018 was predicted as 6.5 percent, the weakest in four years.