Published on: 19 September 2023 at 18:16 IST
The Central government presented the Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023, popularly known as the Women’s Reservation Bill, in the Lok Sabha during a special session held on 19th September 2023.
The groundbreaking Bill aims to reserve one-third of all seats in the Lok Sabha and State legislative assemblies for women. Notably, this reservation encompasses seats already allocated for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, signifying a significant stride towards gender parity in Indian politics.
Union Minister of State for Law & Justice, Arjun Ram Meghwal, sought leave to introduce the Bill in the Lok Sabha, but ensued among Members of Parliament who had not had the chance to review its contents.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, however, clarified that the Bill had been included in the supplementary list of business.
Following the resolution of this issue, the parliamentary proceedings resumed, and the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced through a voice vote. The house has been adjourned until 11 AM. on Wednesday, 20 September 2023 for further deliberations.
One of the key provisions of the Bill stipulates that the reservation for women will be implemented after the completion of a delimitation exercise during the first census following the enactment of the Act. Furthermore, the Bill specifies that this reservation will cease to be in effect 15 years after the Amendment Act’s commencement.
The statement of object and reasons accompanying the Bill emphasizes the critical role of women, who constitute half of the nation’s population, in realizing the vision of “Vikasit Bharat” by 2047.
It states, “After celebrating 75 years of Independence, our nation embarks on the journey into ‘Amritkal’ with the ambitious goal of achieving ‘Vikasit Bharat’ by 2047. Achieving this vision requires the collective efforts of every section of society, following the spirit of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas.’ Women, constituting half of our population, play an exceptionally vital role in this pursuit.”
The Bill goes on to highlight that despite numerous measures aimed at empowering women, genuine empowerment necessitates their increased participation in the decision-making process, as it brings diverse perspectives and enriches the quality of legislative debates and decision-making.
The introduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill marks a significant step toward achieving gender equality in Indian politics and fostering an inclusive and representative democracy. It reflects the government’s commitment to harnessing the potential of Nari Shakti (women power) for the nation’s progress and development. The Bill’s fate and the ensuing debates will undoubtedly shape the future of Indian politics and governance.