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Opposition amendments to RS motion of thanks seek to include inflation, agrarian distress, women’s reservation

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Members on Opposition bench during proceedings of Rajya Sabha on February 8, 2023.
| Photo Credit: ANI

The Opposition has moved 106 amendments to the motion moved by BJP MP K. Laxman in the Rajya Sabha, thanking President Droupadi Murmu for her address to the joint Houses of Parliament.

The amendments seek to include a mention of issues such as inflation, agrarian distress, need to pass Women’s Reservation Bill, unemployment and providing GST compensation to the States in the President’s address. They will be put to vote on Thursday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply to the two-day debate on the motion that concluded on Wednesday.

The Opposition alleged that their amendments on the Adani stock scam were not admitted by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. “I gave three amendments on the Hindenburg report episode and the involvement of Adani Group. None of these amendments were accepted. But similar amendments moved in the Lok Sabha were co-opted and admitted. Is Adani a holy cow?” said Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP John Brittas.

MPs from the Left parties and from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) have moved three amendments saying that they “regret that there is no mention” in the address about the Centre’s failure to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill.

‘Rising prices not mentioned’

DMK MP Tiruchi Siva’s amendment said that he regrets that the address does not mention that petrol prices and diesel prices have been hiked 78 times and 76 times respectively, with only seven and 10 reductions. Mr. Siva also wanted to raise concerns about the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, adding that he would push for these amendments to be adopted by the House on Thursday.

Mr. Brittas’ amendments said that the government’s failure to curb inflation and the rising prices of essential commodities, as well as its refusal to legally guarantee minimum support prices for all agricultural produce, should have found a mention in the President’s address. Aam Aadmi Party MP Raghav Chadha said in his amendment that the address should have mentioned the need for a special scheme to control the increasing prices of essential commodities. He was also dissatisfied that the President did not talk about agrarian distress in the country.

‘No mention of hunger, caste violence’

Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam’s amendment criticised the government’s “inaction” to boost the dismal 17.2% labour participation rate of women and also spoke about the failure to tackle hunger and starvation, citing the Global Hunger Index.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Manoj Kumar Jha said in his amendment that the address did not mention the increasing cases of caste-based violence against Dalit, tribal and minority communities in the country. Muslim League MP Abdul Wahab’s amendment is about the failure to mention the declining socio-economic and educational condition of Muslims in the country. Congress MP Jebi Methar Hisham said in her amendment that the address did not mention anything about bringing petrol and diesel within the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax. Janata Dal (United) MP Ram Nath Thakur wanted a mention about giving funds to State governments for conducting the census.

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