'Nari Shakti Vandhan': Exploring discussions regarding Women’s Reservation in Parliament

Discussions over the women's reservation bill have been going on since the tenure of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996.

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On 20 September 2023, the Lok Sabha passed the Women’s Reservation Bill 2023 [The Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, 2023] or Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. The Women's Reservation Bill is a proposed legislation in India aimed at providing for a reservation of one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and in the State Legislative Assemblies. The bill seeks to address the under-representation of women in Indian politics, where women constitute only a small percentage of elected representatives.

 

Struggle behind this bill?

Discussions over the women's reservation bill have been going on since the tenure of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996. Here is a look at the timeline:

             1996: The parliament received the first bill regarding women reservations.

             1998-2003: The Bill was unsuccessfully introduced by the government four times.

             2009: During protests, the government tables the proposal.

             2010: The Bill is approved by the Union cabinet and Rajya Sabha.

             2014: The Bill was expected.

 

Due to a lack of majority support, the bill could not be passed.

 

Supporters of the bill argue that it is necessary to empower women politically, enhance their participation in decision-making processes, and promote gender equality. They believe that increased representation of women in legislative bodies will lead to better governance and policies that address the needs and concerns of women and marginalized communities. India ranks 145th in a list of 193 countries in terms of women in the Parliament.

 

Why government is not accepting women's reservation bill?

 

Opponents of the bill raise concerns about its potential impact on the principle of meritocracy, arguing that reservations based on gender could undermine the selection of candidates based on their qualifications and abilities. Some also argue that reservations for women could perpetuate tokenism and fail to address the deeper structural issues of gender inequality in Indian society.


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