On the eve of the Budget session, President addresses the joint session of Parliament and it has a vital importance because it not only contains the performance of the government but also the policies to solve the problems of the country. This year is crucial because there is only one year left for the completion of the tenure of the Modi government which came of power in 2014 with a great fanfare and high-sounding slogans, but those who voted the BJP are woefully disappointed because hardly any promise was fulfilled. People had great expectations because they brought the government with abosulute majority after a gap of three decades. It was an excellent BJP game, of course, with the help of corporate companies which funded the campaign through modern electronic gadgets and the rest was done by the PM candidate Narendra Modi to take the people for a ride with a galaxy of promises. It is a sad commentary on the government and the Prime Minister who has been never bothered to keep up the word in good earnest. The party promised more than one crore jobs a year, but within four years not more than 20 lakhs were created. On the contrary, there were more than two lakh redundancies in the wake of the demonetization. Businessmen were compelled to shut down their units to face the adverse situation caused by the miscalculated decision of scrapping the old high denomination notes. Then came the Goods and Service Tax the last straw on the camel’s back of Indian economy. Resultantly, the growth slowed downed unprecedentedly. With miserable condition of the economy, the divisive forces read, the RSS and its affiliates have polluted the social atmosphere with communal feelings.
Against this backdrop, the President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the joint session of Parliament on January 29 and read the document that was prepared by the government. None of the issues distressing the people were mentioned. He stressed the need to liberate Muslim women who according to him were tormented by the Triple Talaq. The Bill that made the Muslim way of divorce illegal and which is stuck up in Rajya Sabha should be cleared sooner than later was the plea made in the address. He hoped that the opposition parties would not become a hurdle and cooperate with the government to pass it. It is a clear intervention in the Muslim Personal Law. When the Supreme Court in its verdict observed that the instant Tripple Talaq would be invalid and the divorce would not happen then where is the crime committed by the husband. Nowhere in the judgment, the court said that the process would be a crime, but the government in its wisdom made it a crime and the person committing the same would be punished with three years jail. The opposition rightly pointed it out and demanded sending the Bill to the select committee. What is wrong if the Bill is reconsidered by the select committee? Why is there so much hurry to pass it? Is there no important issue than this? What was the need to stress it in the President’s address? The government is heeding the women which are representing the vested interests. A lot more number of Muslim women who are opposing it is ignored. It is an ironical coincidence that prior to the commencement of the session, the Prime Minister talked to media and spoke of the Bill. Does the BJP want to encash the Bill on the eve of states elections claiming before the right-wing groups that the party dumped the Muslim Personal Law demand?
There is nothing in the address to show how the government would create jobs for the educated youth and how the economy would be put on the fast track. The government targeted 7.5 per cent growth, but how? The second stressing point in the address is the PM’s theory of conducting all elections of States and the Lok Sabha simultaneously. This can be done only after consultation with all opposition parties and the state governments. The motto to cut the expenditure is welcome, but the by-polls cannot be avoided and the elections of the states where assemblies are dissolved have to be conducted within six months. These practical difficulties cannot be ignored. However, as the opposition parties claimed the address was disappointing.