Polity & Governance Prelims cum Mains

Focus on national security, triple talaq, water conservation

In News:

Image result for president speech lok sabha kovind

  • The President of India, while addressing a joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha talked about the broad gamut of government priorities and policies.
  • He made references to the airstrike, triple talaq, National Register of Citizens, amendments in the Citizenship Act among many others in the speech.

Significance of President’s address:

  • Through the President’s address, the government outlines its programmes and policies.
  • It also highlights the steps taken by the government from the previous year and spells out priorities for the upcoming year.

Motion of thanks:

  • Following the President’s address, the ruling party moves a Motion of Thanks.
  • If a government loses the vote on the motion of thanks, it amounts to defeat of the government and leads to collapse of the government.
  • Therefore, voting on the motion of thanks becomes of critical significance for a minority government.

Note: President’s Address and Motion of Thanks are governed by Articles 86 (1) and 87 (1) of the Constitution and Rules 16 to 24 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. 

Constitutional Provisions of Joint Sitting:

Article 86(1)

  • Article 86(1) of the Constitution provides that the President may address either House of Parliament or both Houses assembled together, and for that purpose require the attendance of members.
  • However, since the commencement of the Constitution, there has not been any occasion when the President has addressed either House or both Houses assembled together, under the provision of this article.

Article 87

  • Article 87 provides for the special address by the President.
  • According to Article 87 of the Constitution, President addresses joint session of Parliament after every Lok Sabha election.
  • The President also addresses a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in the first session of Parliament every year.

Speech Summary

On  Jammu and Kashmir

  • The President said that the government is making efforts to provide a safe and peaceful environment for residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • However, no reference to Article 370 and Section 35-A, or assembly polls was made.

On Air strike

  • Achievement: India has amply demonstrated both her intent and capabilities, first through surgical strikes and then through air strikes on terrorist hideouts across the border after the Pulwama attack.

On Illegal infiltration

  • The President maintained that Illegal infiltrators has posed a major threat to national security.
  • Therefore, efforts will be made to amend the Citizenship Act while protecting the linguistic, cultural and social identities.

On one country one poll

  • Frequent elections impact the pace of development programmes.
  • Therefore he pushed for simultaneous elections in the country, describing it as “need of the hour.”

On Water conservation

  • The creation of the ‘Jal Shakti’ ministry is a decisive step towards water conservation and management.
  • The government will also work to make rivers like Cauvery, Periyar, Mahanadi, Narmada and Godavari pollution-free.

On Women Empowerment

  • Achievements:
    • Rural women are the biggest beneficiaries through Ujjwala Yojana, vaccination through Mission Indradhanush and free electricity connections under Saubhagya Yojana,
    • Women are being given priority in the registration of houses built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in the rural areas.
    • Self-employment opportunities are being made available to rural women through Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Rashtriya Aajivika Mission. Under the Rashtriya Aajivika Mission, loans amounting to more than Rs 2 lakh crore have been disbursed so far to 3 crore women in rural areas
    • The ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign has brought down female foeticide and improved the sex ratio in many districts of the country.

On Triple Talaq and Nikah Halal

  • He also asserted on eradication of social evils like Triple Talaq and Nikah-Halala is imperative for ensuring equal rights for women in the country.
    • Under instant triple talaq, a Muslim man can divorce his wife by uttering talaq three times in one go.
    • Nikah halala requires a divorced woman to marry and consummate the marriage with another man before she can return to her first husband.

 

More to do:

  • The government is trying to make women “equal stakeholders” in the country’s development and prosperity.
  • Efforts will be made in collaboration with industry and corporate sector to provide better employment opportunities to women.
  • In addition, in government procurement, priority will be given to those enterprises where women’s participation in the workforce is more than the prescribed limit.

 

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