Budget Session 2018: Four new members took oath in the Rajya Sabha on the first day of the budget session today as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tabled the Economic Survey for 2017-18. Soon after the House met after President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to a joint sitting of members of both houses of Parliament and the four new members — three from Aam Aadmi Party and Union Minister Hardip Puri from the BJP, took oath, Secretary General Desh Deepak Verma laid copies of the speech in Hindi and English. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu condoled the death of former members Mohinder Singh Kalyan and Khagen Das. While Kalyan died in November last and represented the state of Punjab in the Rajya Sabha from July 1992 to July 1998, Das died earlier this month and represented Tripura in the Upper House from April 1998 to February 2002.
The House also mourned the death of seven persons, including two Pawan Hans pilots at the ONGC site off Mumbai earlier this month and 17 persons who lost their lives in a blaze at a fire cracker unit in Delhi’s Bawana area. Members stood in silence in the memory of its former members as well as those who lost their lives in the other incidents. The House also congratulated Aanchal Thakur for winning a bronze medal in the coveted Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup organised by the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) in Turkey recently, where she created history by becoming the first Indian to win an international medal in skiing.
The Upper House lauded the Indian Blind cricket team for winning the 5th World Cup cricket for the blind in Sharjah. Naidu hoped the victory of the blind cricket team would be an inspiration for others. He also highlighted ISRO’s achievement of launching the 100th satellite from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, thus setting a milestone in space research. He lauded the DRDO’s achievement in launching an inter-continental missile, while congratulating the scientists for it. Earlier before the House assembled, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met leaders of various parties and shook hands with them, reflecting bonhomie ahead of the session.
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The prime minister, who arrived a few minutes ahead of the start of the session, walked up to the opposition benches and greeted the leaders. He shook hands with former prime minister Manmohan Singh, leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, besides opposition leaders like Sharad Pawar, Ramgopal Yadav, A K Antony and Anand Sharma. Modi, who was accompanied by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, also shook hands with CPI(M) leader T K Rangarajan, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (JD-U), Dilip Tirkey (BJD) and Motilal Vora and Jairam Ramesh (both Congress).
He also greeted members of the treasury benches with folded hands. After the tabling of the papers, Naidu adjourned the House for the day. Rajya Sabha will now meet on February 1 at 1:30 PM after the finance minister presents the general budget for 2018-19 in the Lok Sabha.