Towards a historic move, the Union Cabinet has cleared the long-standing women’s reservation bill.
The Bill, also known as the Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008, will reserve one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.
In other words, the clearance by the cabinet is a step towards ensuring women’s space in politics. The country may have achieved suffrage early, but fairer gender hitherto faced significant barriers to political participation.
As the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010, it was not tabled in the Lower House of Parliament until today.
According to the Bill, one-third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be reserved for women from those groups. These reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state or union territory.
Regardless of being a crucial step towards gender parity and inclusive governance, the Bill has remained in legislative limbo for far too long. The bill says that the reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of the amendment act.
Ahead of the Parliament’s special session, several leaders across the political divide pushed for the women’s quota. On Monday, NCP strongly defended the Congress over the bill, saying the first woman prime minister and president were from the Congress, and the legislation was also brought by it.
Earlier addressing the media, the Prime Minister said that “historic decisions” will be taken this Parliament session which may be of short duration but is big on occasion.
Women have played role in various spheres to the fullest. There were numerous female representatives in the Constituent Assembly as well. Earlier three of India’s largest States—West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh—were led by women Chief Ministers. Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj led the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sonia Gandhi served as both President of the Congress Party and Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance. Also, India had its first woman President, Pratibha Patil around the same time. It is now hoped that the Bill will be passed by the Parliament and the women get due reservations which will be good for overall uplifting of the women across the country.