The triple talaq legislation, if approved by Parliament, will help Muslim women live dignified lives without any fear, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Monday. Kovind was laying out the achievements of the central government during his opening remarks at the Budget Session in Parliament.

The self-respect of Muslim women had been hostage to political considerations for decades, Kovind said, adding that he hoped the bill would be passed during this session.

The first part of the Budget Session will be held till February 9 and the second part from March 5 to April 6. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present the Economic Survey for 2017-’18 from 1 pm on Monday, and the Union Budget for 2018-’19 on Thursday.

In his address to the MPs, the president also appealed to political parties to reach a consensus on simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, and said the discourse on the topic must develop further.

He cited the amendments to the Maternity Benefits Act, the Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra Scheme and Crop Insurance Scheme among several others to describe the Centre’s achievements. He said the government was committed to provide housing for all by 2022, and that it had provided reservations to people with disabilities in jobs.

In the last three and a half years, the inflation rate, current account deficit and the fiscal deficit have come down on an average, Kovind said. He hailed reforms such as the Goods and Services Tax, and said the government’s policies had helped India gain several notches in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings.

Earlier, before the president’s address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that this Budget Session was important. “The world is optimistic about India,” he said. “Agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have been giving an optimistic opinion of the country.”

“We should make use of our system of parliamentary committees and discuss aspects of the Budget,” he said. “We should think about the well-being of rural India, farmers, Dalits, tribal communities and labourers.”