Brief parliament session begins Monday


New Delhi : The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is readying for the first session of the 15th Lok Sabha from Monday with the formal swearing in of the 543 newly elected MPs.

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Two days have been earmarked for the procedure that will be followed by the election of the Lok Sabha speaker and the joint address to parliament by President Pratibha Patil.

Meira Kumar, 64, the water resources minister in the new government, is expected to be the Congress choice for the post of the Lok Sabha speaker, party sources said.

If elected, Meira Kumar, daughter of the late Jagjivan Ram, will be the first woman to preside over the Lok Sabha.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s full cabinet has met to finalise the president’s address to parliament. It is expected to focus on his government’s moves to strengthen welfare schemes and boost the economy.

The president’s address, extensively worked on by Manmohan Singh himself, will unveil the government’s agenda for the year in tune with the policies and programmes of the Congress party and its allies.

Soon after securing a decisive mandate, Manmohan Singh promised a 100-day action plan for his government and he is expected to give emphasis to the UPA’s unfinished agenda.

Among other issues that will figure prominently in the president’s address are strengthening of key social sector programmes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee and Bharat Nirman schemes.

There will be a debate June 5, 8 and 9 on the president’s address after which the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, which convenes June 4, will pass a motion of thanks before adjourning.

The budget session of parliament is likely to begin in the first week of July.