New Delhi: 12 noon: Speaking on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, President Pranab Mukherjee said, "Kudankulum power plant will be commissioned this year. Highest importance is attached to safety at Nuclear power plants."
11:50 am: President Pranab Mukherjee said the government was committed to probity and was considering amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Speaking on cross-border relations, Pranab said, "We continue to seek peace, stability and co-operation in the sub continent. We attach importance to relations with neighbours."
"It is important that Pakistan continues its commitment and desists from acts that undermine security," Pranab said.
11:35 am: President Pranab Mukherjee said the government was committed to creating new jobs. "The government is committed to creating 100 million jobs within a decade," he said.
11:30 am: President Pranab Mukherjee spoke about the ordinance brought by the Cabinet inspired by Justice JS Verma Committee report saying, "My government is deeply concerned about sexual harassment of women. The government has brought in an ordinance and taken several steps for safety of women across the country."
11:25 am: President Mukherjee laid stress on the steps take by the government to increase investor confidence while addressing Parliament. "My government is taking steps to deal with factors of slowdown. Inflation is reducing gradually but still a problem," Pranab said.
Pranab also lauded the policies and schemes introduced by the government like MNREGA and Direct cash transfers. "Direct cash transfers will help cut leakages, bring millions into the financial system and lead to better targeting," Pranab said.
"MNREGA provided employment to 5 crore families. Indira Awas Yojna outlay was increased including left extremist areas," Pranab added.
11:05 am: The Budget Session began on Thursday with President Pranab Mukherjee addressing Parliament. The President in his speech expressed concern over the security of women in the country. "People are concerned about the security of women. The past year has been a difficult one," President Pranab Mukherjee said.
Encouraging the youth to contribute towards the growth of the country, Pranab said, "Youth energy and enterprise will take India to a new height."
Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to the Opposition for smooth functioning of Parliament ahead of the Budget Session. In his address ahead of the session, Manmohan Singh said, "The people of the country want a constructive session of Parliament."
He also said that the government was ready for a dialogue in Parliament on all issues. "We wish to engage constructively, peacefully with all members in the parliament. There should be dialogue with all the members of Parliament," Manmohan Singh said.
The Prime Minister said that Parliament was meeting against the backdrop of global slowdown of economic activity which has also affected the country. "It is now a challenge for all of us to take credible action to ensure that we are least affected by this global slowdown. In this context, the way we conduct the financial business now before Parliament will be a crucial determinant of our country's ability to cope with the formidable challenges our country faces," Manmohan said.
A day ahead of the Budget Session of Parliament begins, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday issued a regret statement for his Hindu terror remark. Many are seeing this as a climbdown by the government and a victory of sorts for the Bharatiya Janata Party. The government is getting set to counter the Opposition's attack on many fronts.
"It's not in our hands, we want the political parties to be on our side. The Parliamentary Affairs Minister is dealing with them. The Prime Minister has said that we are ready for a discussion. Parliament is meant for discussion, there is no need for not allowing the House to run," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said.
The government has listed around 71 bills to be introduced and passed in this Buget session. Some of the important bills include Bill of Sexual Violence against women, Bill on Land Acquisition, Food Security Bill, Lokpal Bill and Bill to make provision for quota in promotions for SC, ST.
There are some specific issues that are likely to be raised in the session. The Samajwadi Party is opposed to the Lokpal Bill and does not want quota in promotions bill being pushed by the BSP. The BSP will support the government if the quota bill is passed.
The BJP is set to raise the AgustaWestland chopper deal issue on February 22. The Left Front is also likely to attack the government over price rise, subsidy cut on diesel, LPG, FEMA amendment and chopper deal. Allegations against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien will also be an issue for the Left parties.