Budget session 2018: President Ram Nath Kovind pushes for discussion on simultaneous polls

President Ram Nath Kovind addressing the first day of the budget session. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 29, 2018, 06.30 AM (IST)

President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said that a sustained debate is required on the subject of simultaneous elections in his inaugural speech at the Budget Session of Parliament which began today.

"A sustained debate is required on the subject of simultaneous elections and all political parties need to arrive at a consensus on this issue," President Kovind said in his opening address to the joint session of Parliament on Monday.

Earlier this month, in an interview to WION, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections should be held together and that he has discussed this idea with various policymakers. "If the elections happen together, then the country can save a lot," PM Modi had said in the interview.

Today, while addressing the joint session of Parliament, President Kovind reiterated his government's commitment in passing the triple talaq bill.

"My government has presented a bill to end the practice of triple talaq. I hope the Triple Talaq Bill will be passed soon so that Muslim women can live a life of dignity and without fear," President Kovind said.

Committed to 'empowerment and not appeasement', my government is making intensive efforts for the economic, social and educational empowerment of the minorities, President Kovind said in his maiden address to Parliament

While the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, sailed through the Lok Sabha, the Triple Talaq Bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha as several opposition parties demanded that it be referred to a select committee.

Highlighting the achievements of Modi government, President Kovind said, "My government has introduced insurance schemes for poor at a premium of Rs 1 per month and 90 paise per day. Over 18 crore poor have been covered under the 'PM Suraksha Bima Yojana' and 'PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana' and about Rs 2 thousand crore has been paid out as claims."

The government is committed to double the income of farmers by the year 2022, he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke before the commencement of Parliament’s Budget Session, where he appealed to the opposition to pass the Triple Talaq Bill,  saying it would be a New Year gift for Muslim women.

Speaking to reporters outside Parliament House, Modi said despite his government's efforts and people's expectations the triple talaq bill could not be passed in the last session.

The Budget Session of Parliament began on Monday. The first leg of the session will be between January 29 and February 9 during which the government will present the economic survey on January 29, followed by the Union Budget on February 1.

Following a recess after February 9, Parliament will meet again from March 5 to April 6.