New Delhi: The government on Tuesday introduced a constitutional amendment bill to reserve one-third of seats in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women, reviving a bill pending for 27 years for want of consensus among parties.
Making it the first bill to be introduced in the new Parliament building, the government said it will enable greater participation of women in policy-making at the state and national levels and help achieve the goal of making India a developed country by 2047.
The bill be named Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. With several parties parties pushing for reservation of women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies, the bill is likely to see a smooth passage this time, unlike the earlier instances when several regional parties had opposed it.
However, its implementation may still take some time and is unlikely to be in force for the next Lok Sabha elections in 2024 as the reservation will come into effect only after a delimitation exercise is completed.
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Speaking in Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Union Cabinet approved the bill on Monday and that the government wants more and more women to join the development process of the country.
The world has recognised the women-led development process in the country and is witnessing contribution made by Indian women in different aspects of life from sports to startups, the prime minister said.
The bill has proposed that the reservation would continue for a period of 15 years and there will be quota for SC/STs within the reserved seats for women.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, was listed for introduction in the Lower House through a supplementary list of business.
The reservation will come into effect after a delimitation exercise is undertaken and will continue for 15 years. Seats reserved for women will be rotated after each delimitation exercise, according to the bill.
The government said women participate substantively in panchayats and at municipal bodies, but their representation in state assemblies, Parliament is still limited.
Women bring different perspectives and enrich quality of legislative debates and decision-making, it added.
There have been several efforts to introduce women’s reservation bill in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies since 1996. The last such attempt was made in 2010, when the Rajya Sabha had passed a Bill for women’s reservation, but the same could not be passed in the Lok Sabha. Data shows that women MPs account for nearly 15 per cent of Lok Sabha strength while their representation is below 10 per cent in many state assemblies.