PM Modi to introduce Women’s Reservation Bill after 27 years | Pro IQRA News

PM Modi to introduce Women’s Reservation Bill after 27 years

 | Pro IQRA News

News Updates.

Prime Minister Modi’s government has ushered in a new era for women in politics at the new Parliament House on Ganesh Chaturthi on Tuesday (September 19, 2023). The Prime Minister introduced the draft Women’s Reservation Bill in the name of “Nari Shakti Vandan Act”. With this, the picture of 33 percent reservation given to women in the state assemblies including the country’s parliament became clearer. The government introduced the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Women’s reservation will be implemented after delimitation of existing Lok Sabha seats. Out of the seats reserved for SC-ST, one-third of the seats will be reserved for SC-ST women.

According to the draft Women’s Reservation Bill, 2023, this bill will come into effect after the delimitation of the existing seats. In this, one-third of the seats will be reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. There is a provision in the bill that the seats reserved for SC-ST will also come under women’s reservation.

According to media reports, Modi’s cabinet had approved the Women’s Reservation Bill (WRB) at the Union Cabinet meeting held on Monday (September 18, 2023). This bill has been in limbo for the past 27 years. This decision was not made public, but Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel had written about it on his X handle (formerly Twitter). He later deleted this post.

But now this bill has been presented in the Riksdag. Discussion about this is ongoing. The indication is clear that this special session of 5 days which started in the old building of Parliament and in the new building will be special for women. After all, what is this women reservation bill and why it has not been passed in the country’s parliament yet, here we are going to tell you every little thing about it.

Why is Women’s Reservation Bill necessary?

Food Industry and Jal Shakti Minister Prahlad Patel had signed ‘Congratulations to Narendra Modi ji and congratulations to the Modi government.” He later deleted this post. Now the Prime Minister himself announced it in the Riksdag, after which it was tabled.

However, this is not the first time that a women’s reservation bill has been presented in Parliament. Even before this, this bill has been tabled in the country’s parliament, but due to a lack of consensus among the political parties, it has been postponed each time. In his recent speech at the Old Parliament House, PM Modi also indicated that there is a lack of women’s participation in the country’s Parliament and Legislatures.

He had said that since independence, more than 7500 public representatives have worked in both houses. The number of female representatives among these has been around 600. From this, one can understand that there is a need to increase women’s participation in parliaments and assemblies.

In the current Lok Sabha, 82 women MPs were elected out of 539 MPs, which is just 15.21 percent of the total. According to the data shared by the government with Parliament in December 2022, there are 31 women MPs out of 238 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, which is 13.02 percent of the total number of MPs. According to the global average, we are far behind in terms of women’s participation in parliament. According to a study by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the global average is 26 percent.

Data shows that their representation in many state assemblies is less than 15 percent. Women’s representation in many state assemblies, including Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura and Puducherry, is less than 10 percent is less. In Mizoram and Nagaland, the percentage of women in the assembly is zero.

According to government data for December 2022, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi had 10-12 percent women MLAs. Among the five states with the highest representation of women MLAs, Chhattisgarh has 14.44 percent, West Bengal has 13.7, Jharkhand has 12.35, Rajasthan has 12 and UP has 11.66 percent women MLAs.

Where Jammu and Kashmir is 2.30, Karnataka is 3.14 and Puducherry is 3.33 percent. Meanwhile, their assembly participation in Delhi and Uttarakhand is only 11.43 percent. In recent weeks, several parties, including the BJD and the BRS, have tried to revive the bill. The Congress also passed a resolution to this effect at its Hyderabad Congress Working Committee meeting on Sunday (September 17).

A special thing about this bill is that parties like RJD, SP, JMM are opposing it by demanding reservation for SC, ST and OBC even in women reservation. But along with BJP, Congress, BJD, BRS, YSRCP are supporting this bill.

SP has 4 MPs in Lok Sabha and RJD has none to oppose this bill, therefore there are full chances of this bill being passed. It is worth noting that efforts were made to implement this bill five times, but each time the parties were divided on the issue of poor women’s participation and this law could not be made.

What is the history of this bill?

During Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s tenure in 1975, a report called “Towards Equality” came out. In this, details were given about the condition of women in all fields. Along with this, the reservation issue was also mentioned. However, most of the members of the committee that prepared this report were against reservations.

Women also wanted to enter politics on their own, but in the coming years, women realized that their path to politics was not easy. Since then, there has been a felt need for reservations to give women representation in parliament. In the 1980s, the country’s late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi opposed attempts to pass a bill to provide one-third reservation for women in Panchayat and local assembly elections in many states. He said this would reduce his powers.

The Women’s Reservation Bill was first introduced on 12 September 1996 by the United Front government of PM HD Deve Gowda. At that time, the Congress supported this alliance from outside. At the time, Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal had strongly opposed it.

Then this bill was introduced as the 81st Constitutional Amendment Bill. In this, within the proposal of 33 percent reservation for women in parliament and state assemblies, there was a provision for under-reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), but there was no provision for reservation for other backward classes.

It is proposed in this bill that the reserved seats should be rotated after every Lok Sabha election. Reserved seats may be allocated by rotation to different constituencies in a state or union territory. Reservation of seats for women will end after 15 years of implementation of this amendment act. Then another attempt was made to introduce this bill in 1997. Then Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal (United) had criticized this bill and made an objectionable comment that this bill would only benefit “underprivileged women”. She had said that how would ‘dark urban women’ represent our rural women.

After this, in the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998, M Thambidurai, the then Law Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA government, tried to introduce this bill, but again failed.

When the then Union legislator M Thambidurai was about to introduce the bill, RJD member Surendra Prakash Yadav snatched it from the minister’s hand. Along with colleague Ajit Kumar Mehta, he reached the Speaker’s desk in an attempt to destroy them and collect more copies of it.

The Vajpayee government again tried to introduce this bill in the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999. Even then, the political parties were divided over this demand. After this, he also tried to pass this bill in 2002 and 2003-2004, but failed.

The Vajpayee government introduced this bill in Parliament at least six times, but each time the Congress and its allies postponed the bill. Remember the Vajpayee government did not have the majority required to pass it and depended on the opposition for consensus.

Then there was the 108th constitutional amendment for the bill

Manmohan Singh took over as Prime Minister when the Congress-led UPA government came to power in 2004. Since 2008, this bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha as the 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill. In 2008, this bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice.

Two members of the committee, Virendra Bhatia and Shailendra Kumar, were from the Samajwadi Party. He said he is not against it, but he does not accept the proposal of the bill. He had recommended that each political party should reserve 20 percent of its tickets for women and that women’s reservation in Parliament should not exceed 20 percent.

When the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha

Under the UPA government, on 9 March 2010, the Women’s Reservation Bill was finally passed by the Rajya Sabha with an overwhelming majority of 186 votes to one. Marshals must be used on the day this bill is passed. Even then BJP, Left parties and JDU had supported it. Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal had strongly opposed it.

The Rajya Sabha Speaker had suspended seven MPs from the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal who created a ruckus. Both these parties were UPA’s allies in the government. The Congress did not introduce this bill in the Lok Sabha because of the risk of the government falling.

In fact, as per Article 107 (5) of the Constitution, the Bills still pending in the Lok Sabha lapse as soon as it is dissolved. For this reason, after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 2014, this women’s reservation law automatically lapsed. But since the Rajya Sabha is a permanent house, this bill still exists. Therefore, it will be re-introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The BJP-led Modi government, which came to power in 2014, talked of introducing it in its second term. The party had promised 33 percent women’s reservation in the 2014 and 2019 election manifestos. Congress parliamentary party leader Sonia Gandhi had expressed her support by writing a letter to the prime minister in 2017.

After becoming the Congress President, Rahul Gandhi also wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on 16 July 2018 reiterating his support for the party. Regarding the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi had also said that if his party comes to power, he will pass the women’s reservation bill on priority.

But Congress’s game plan with this bill has always been to pay lip service to the women’s representation agenda, while effectively thwarting it through its coalition partners and indeed its own MPs.

The Congress, which had the required majority in 2010, was able to pass this bill through the Rajya Sabha only because of the support of the BJP, but here again it turned out to be a sham. Sonia Gandhi had admitted that her own party opposed it.

This bill was introduced during the five-day special session of 2023. If passed, it will become a law upon approval by the President. Once this law is enacted, it will become easier for every third member of the Lok Sabha to be a woman in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.