President Kovind condemns R-Day violence in address to Parliament
On Friday, President Ram Nath Kovind addressed both Houses of the Parliament amid a sweeping boycott by 17 Opposition parties. In his speech, which marks the beginning of the crucial Budget Session, he paid tribute to all those who passed away due to coronavirus-linked complications. He also spoke about the agricultural reforms and condemned the violence on Republic Day. Here are more details.
India's vaccination drive is a matter of pride: President Kovind
President Kovind mentioned the raging health crisis and flaunted achievements of the nation — from manufacturing PPE kits to starting the world's largest vaccination drive. "It is a matter of pride that India is running the biggest vaccination program in the world. Both vaccines of this program are made in India," he said. He also admitted he was satisfied with the Centre's pandemic response.
He paid tribute to former President Pranab Mukherjee
"In this fight against the pandemic, we lost many citizens. Former President Pranab Mukherjee passed away in this coronavirus period. Six MPs left us untimely due to COVID. I pay my tribute to all of them," he added.
'Reforms will help small and marginal farmers'
President Kovind then discussed the three farm laws, that are at the center of a massive agitation. He claimed these reforms were long-pending and will help small and marginal farmers. He also spoke on the violence, that was sparked in Delhi during the farmers' tractor rally. Calling it unfortunate, he said the Constitution teaches us that the law of the land must be upheld.
Delhi's violence figured in President Kovind's address
President Kovind claimed 10 crore farmers benefited from laws
Just as he asserted that more than 10 crore small farmers have reaped benefits from the farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cheered. The reforms, passed in mid-September during a stormy Monsoon Session, have invited a massive protest by farmers. Leaders of the Opposition have also lent support to the farmers' agitation.
Berating 'arrogant' government, Opposition parties chose to boycott President's address
In their joint statement that revealed over a dozen Opposition parties won't attend President Kovind's address, the parties slammed the "arrogant and adamant" behavior of the Centre. They also demanded an impartial probe into the January 26 violence, claiming that it's the only way to reveal the Centre's "nefarious role." Among those who boycotted the address are Congress and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).
Government will suspend laws, respect Supreme Court's orders
Notably, President Kovind underlined that the federal government will put a stay on the implementation of the controversial farm laws, just as the Supreme Court ordered. To recall, earlier this month the government said it was ready to suspend the laws for one and a half years but the agitating farmers junked this offer, repeating that they only want a repeal of the legislation.
Separately, PM Modi said this decade is important for India
Earlier in the day, PM Modi also addressed the media on the Budget Session. "Today commences the first Session of this decade. This decade is very important for the bright future of India. A golden opportunity has come before the nation to fulfill the dreams seen by the freedom fighters," he said. He also added Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented mini budgets in 2020.
Mini budgets in form of packages were presented: PM Modi
"For the first time in India's history, in a way, the Finance Minister had to present four-five mini budgets in 2020 in the form of different packages. So this Budget will be seen as a part of those four-five mini budgets, I believe this," PM Modi said.Share this timeline