New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged political parties to use the winter session of parliament positively so that it contributes to the growth of the country.
However the growing tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress-led opposition is expected to continue as the government has decided to table a controversial bill that seeks to end the practice of instant triple talaq in the winter session. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union cabinet on Friday.
Modi said there should be constructive debate and discussion in both Houses to find innovative solutions for the problems being faced by the country.
“The winter session of parliament is starting and I am confident that it will be a productive session. I hope there is constructive debate and we come up with innovative solutions to our nation’s problems. May this parliament session contribute to the nation’s growth. At yesterday’s all-party meeting, we all were clear that we need to take the country ahead and this session should be used positively to achieve that," Modi said on the first day of the session.
Describing the National Democratic Alliance’s proposed legislation on instant triple talaq as a “historic decision", law and justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who briefed reporters on decisions taken by the cabinet on Friday, said many state governments supported the bill.
“It is a bill that gives a shield to helpless victims of talaq," said Prasad.
The government hopes the bill will help end a practice under which a man can divorce his wife by uttering the word “talaq" three time at one go.
The government had set up a ministerial panel in November to frame the legislation.
The Congress is already trying to corner the government and has demanded an apology from Modi over comments against former prime minister Manmohan Singh. While campaigning in Gujarat, Modi had in a speech accused Singh of conspiring with Pakistan to influence the state assembly elections during a meeting with former Pakistani diplomats at the residence of suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar in New Delhi.
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned three times over protests by Congress leaders who said serious allegations had been levelled against Singh and former vice-president Hamid Ansari by Modi.
The government is expected to table 25 pending bills, including the one outlawing instant triple talaq and reintroduce a bill to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.
Among the key bills that could be taken up for discussion are the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The Congress-led opposition also wants a detailed discussion on implementation of the goods and services tax, demonetization, price rise, rural distress and the women’s reservation bill.
PTI contributed to this story.