Prime Minister's Office

English rendering of PM’s address in Rajya Sabha in the New Parliament Building

Posted On: 19 SEP 2023 5:46PM by PIB Delhi

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

Today is a memorable day for all of us. It is also historic. Before this, I had the opportunity to express my views in the Lok Sabha. Now, you have given me the opportunity in the Rajya Sabha today, and I am grateful to you.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

The concept of the Rajya Sabha has been envisioned as the Upper House of Parliament in our Constitution. The framers of the Constitution expected that this House should rise above the turmoil of politics and become a centre for serious intellectual discourse, capable of providing direction to the nation. This is a natural expectation for a country and it can contribute to the enrichment of democracy.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

There have been many great individuals in this House. While I may not be able to mention them all, figures like Lal Bahadur Shastri ji, Govind Vallabh Pant Saheb, Lal Krishna Advani ji, Pranab Mukherjee Saheb, Arun Jaitley ji and countless others have adorned this House and provided guidance to the nation. There are also numerous members who, in a way, served as independent think tanks, much like institutions unto themselves, capable of benefiting the country with their wisdom and contributions. During the early days of the Parliament's history, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan ji emphasized the significance of the Rajya Sabha, stating that Parliament is not only a legislative but a deliberative body. The Rajya Sabha carries many high and loftiest expectations of the people. Hence, it is a great pleasure to have serious discussions on important matters and hear them among Hon’ble members. The new Sansad Bhavan is not just a new structure; it symbolizes a new beginning. We experience this in our personal lives as well when we connect with something new, our mind naturally seeks to utilize it optimally, to work within its most favourable environment. The construction of this building at the dawn of the ‘Amrit Kaal’, and our entry into it, represents a new energy, which will fulfil the hopes and aspirations of our nation's 140 crore citizens. It will invigorate us with fresh hope and newfound confidence.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

We must achieve our goals within a defined timeframe because as I have mentioned before, the country cannot afford to wait any longer. There was a time when people used to think that it's okay; our parents went through such hardships, and we can too. It was believed that fate would somehow carry us through. Today, society's mindset, especially that of the younger generation, is different. Therefore, we must expand the scope of our work with a new approach, aligning with the hopes and aspirations of ordinary citizens. We need to surpass the limits of our thinking and enhance our capabilities. As our abilities grow, so will our contribution to enhancing the nation's capabilities.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

I believe that in this new building, in the Upper House, we can serve as symbols of parliamentary decorum, inspiring the legislative bodies of our nation, the institutions of local self-governance and the entire system through our conduct and behaviour. I believe that this place has the utmost potential and the country should reap the benefits of it. It should benefit the representatives of the people, whether they are elected as ‘Gram Pradhan’ or come to Parliament. We must ponder how to carry forward this tradition. 

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

I have had the opportunity to serve the nation with your cooperation for the last nine years. Many significant decisions were made, some of which had been pending for decades. Some of these decisions were considered extremely challenging and politically sensitive. However, despite these challenges, we showed the courage to move forward in that direction. We did not have the required numbers in the Rajya Sabha, but we had the confidence that the Rajya Sabha would rise above partisan thinking and make decisions in the interest of the nation. Today, I can say with satisfaction that the results of your broad-minded approach, your understanding, your sense of responsibility towards the nation, and your cooperation enabled us to make difficult decisions, which elevated the dignity of the Rajya Sabha not just through the strength of numbers but through the power of wisdom. What greater satisfaction could there be? Therefore, I express my gratitude to all the Hon’ble members of this House, both present and past.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

In a democracy, there is a natural course of who comes to power, who doesn't and when they come to power. This is both natural and inherent to the nature and character of democracy. However, whenever issues concerning the nation arise, we have all made efforts to rise above politics, prioritizing the interests of the country and working together.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

Rajya Sabha serves as a representation of the states in a way. It is a form of cooperative federalism, and now we see there is a greater emphasis on competitive cooperative federalism. We can see that the country has progressed with immense cooperation even as we dealt with numerous issues. The Covid crisis was significant. The world also faced this crisis. However, it was the strength of our federalism that allowed the central and state governments to work together to rescue the country from a severe crisis. This showcases the power of our cooperative federalism. Our federal structure has faced many challenges not only during crises but also during times of celebration, but we have presented our strength to the world, impressing it. Bharat’s diversity, its numerous political parties, media houses, languages, and cultures—all of these aspects have influenced the world through events like the G20 Summit and various state-level summits. Before Delhi, which was the last city to host the Summit, more than 220 summits were organised in over 60 cities across the country with great enthusiasm and the impact that it has had on the world, demonstrates our hospitality and our capacity to provide direction to the world through deliberations. This is the strength of our federalism, and it is due to cooperative federalism that we are making progress today.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

In this new House, as well as in our new Parliament building, we can indeed see an element of federalism. When it was being constructed, requests were made to the states to contribute various elements that represent them. It was important to ensure that all states of the country were somehow represented here. We can see that various forms of art and numerous paintings adorning our walls are enhancing the grandeur of this building. States have chosen their best artefacts to be showcased here. In a way, states are represented here, and their diversity is evident, adding to the essence of federalism within this environment.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

Technology has significantly impacted our lives at an unprecedented pace. What used to take 50 years to change in technology now happens in a matter of weeks. Modernity has become essential, and to keep up with it, we must continually and dynamically advance ourselves. Only then can we step forward in harmony with modernity and progress step by step.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

In the old building, which you referred to as the Samvidhan Sadan, we celebrated the ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ of Independence with great pomp and grandeur. We looked back at our 75-year journey, and we also initiated efforts to chart a new direction and make new resolutions. However, I have complete confidence that when we celebrate the centenary of Independence in the new Parliament building, the golden jubilee will belong to a developed Bharat. In the old building, we became the 5th economy in the world. I believe that we will become one of the top three economies in the world in the new Sansad Bhavan. In the old Sansad Bhavan, several initiatives were taken for the welfare of the poor, and many works were accomplished. In the new Sansad Bhavan, we will now achieve 100% saturation, ensuring that everyone gets their rightful share.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

Along with its walls in this new House, we will need to adjust ourselves to technology. Everything will be in front of us on iPads. I would like to suggest that, if possible, many Hon’ble members should be familiarized with technology by taking some time tomorrow. It will be convenient for them to sit and view their screens. I observed today in the Lok Sabha that some colleagues faced difficulties in operating these devices. Therefore, it is our responsibility to help everyone in this regard. If we can allocate some time tomorrow for this purpose, it will be beneficial.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

This is the era of digitization. We will need to make ourselves a part of these things in this House as well. Initially, it may take a little time, but now many things are very user-friendly, and these can be adopted easily. Now, let's do it. ‘Make in India’ has been a game-changer globally and we have benefitted immensely. I have said earlier that with new thinking, new enthusiasm, new energy, and new vigour, we can move forward and achieve great things.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

Today, the new Sansad Bhavan is witnessing an important historic decision for the country. A bill has been presented in the Lok Sabha and after discussions there, it will also come here. Many important steps have been taken in the last several years in the direction of women’s empowerment. Today we are collectively taking an extremely important step. The government has been striving to improve the ease of living and quality of life. When we talk about ease of living and quality of life, the rightful beneficiaries of this effort are our sisters, our women, because they have to endure so many difficulties. Therefore, our effort is to involve them in nation-building and it is our responsibility as well. There are many new sectors where the power of women, the participation of women, is being continuously ensured. The decision that women can work in mining was possible because of our MPs. We have opened the doors of all schools for girls because our daughters have the capability. This capability should now get opportunities. Now, the era of "ifs and buts" should end in their lives. The more facilities we provide, the more capability our daughters and sisters will demonstrate. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ is not just a government program, it has become a part of society due to which a sense of respect for daughters and women has developed in society. Whether it's the Mudra Yojana or the Jan Dhan Yojana, women have actively benefited from these initiatives. Bharat is witnessing the active participation of women as far as financial inclusion is concerned. This in itself, I think, reveals their potential in the lives of their families as well. Now the time has come for this potential to be manifested in national life too. We have endeavoured to launch the Ujjwala scheme keeping in mind the health of our mothers and sisters. We know that earlier one had to make several visits to the MP's house for a gas cylinder. I know it is a huge financial burden to deliver it free to poor families, but I did it keeping the lives of women in mind. The issue of Triple Talaq was hanging fire for a long time and was a victim of political interests. Such an important step could become possible with the help of all our Hon’ble Members of Parliament. We have also worked to create strict laws for women's safety. Women-led development was at the forefront during the G-20 discussions, and there are many countries in the world for whom the subject of women-led development was somewhat of a new experience. When discussions on this topic were held, their views did not align. However, in the G20 Declaration, the subject of women-led development has now reached the world through Bharat, and this is a matter of pride for all of us.

Respected Mr Chairman Sir, 

In this background, a discussion about ensuring the participation of sisters directly in the legislative assemblies and parliament elections through reservation continued for a long time. Efforts have been made by everyone in the past. It all started in 1996 and during the time of Atal ji, bills were brought many times. But the numbers fell short and there was a hostile environment against the bill, making it challenging to carry out this important task. However, now that we have come to the new House, there is also a sense of novelty and I believe that the time has come for us to ensure the participation of women power in our country's development journey through legislation. Therefore, the government has considered introducing the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ through a constitutional amendment. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha today, and it will be discussed in the Lok Sabha tomorrow, followed by its consideration in the Rajya Sabha. Today, I request all of you with utmost sincerity that it is a subject which will exponentially enhance the power of togetherness if we move forward unanimously. Whenever the bill comes before all of us, I appeal to all my esteemed colleagues in the Rajya Sabha to consider it with consensus when the opportunity arises in the coming days. With these words, I pause my speech. 

Thank you very much.

 

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

 

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