Why India Needs Women’s Reservation Bill

By Staff Feministaa in Happenings 15/05/2019

What is the Women’s Reservation Bill?

 

The Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008, better known as the women’s reservation bill, seeks to reserve 33 per cent of all Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly seats for women. The bill also states that one-third of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates will go to women. The Rajya Sabha passed the bill on 9 March 2010, but it never came into effect as the lower house of the parliament did not approve the reservation.

 

First introduced in 1996, the women’s reservation bill was bought into existence in the Lok Sabha by then PM H.D. Deve Gowda.

 

It has been 23 years and the bill never made it without being lapsed making it the longest pending legislation in Parliament

 

In April 2019, both the national parties released their manifestos for the 2019 general elections, in which they promise to reserve 33 % seats for women in the Lok Sabha.

 

“There is an urgent need to provide reservation for women in state assemblies and Lok Sabha to ensure their empowerment. The Congress is keen to ensure this,” Rahul Gandhi said during an interaction with women at a convention in Jeypore town of Odisha’s Koraput district while 2019 Campaign Elections.

 

However, this was an assurance both Congress and BJP had made before the 2014 elections as well.

 

According to the Scroll, the BJP Manifesto in 2014 had a clause which said Providing 33% reservation for women in parliamentary and state assemblies through a constitutional amendment.

 

Yet after the Women’s Reservation Bill lapsed in Parliament in 2014, there has been no progress on it. In fact, women make up only 11% of the current Lok Sabha, and BJP had offered only 8% of its tickets to women candidates during the 2014 election which has now risen to a meagre 12%. And the big number for Congress for 2019 has been 13.1%.

 

Why We Need the Women’s Reservation Bill?

 

While there is a minuscule representation of women in the assembly, n 1993, a constitutional amendment in India called for a random one-third of the village council leader, or pradhan, positions to be reserved for women.

 

This reservation of women panchayats revealed that women elected under this policy invest more in the public good closely linked to women’s concerns.

 

Proven by a study and an analysis by PRS Legislative Research, Women’s Reservation Bill, if applied to the Lok Sabha and Parliament, will actually change the way that resources are redistributed such that they are in favour of the groups which will benefit from the reservation.

 

Not only that, a 2008 study, commissioned by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, reveals that a sizeable proportion of women representatives perceive an enhancement in their self-esteem, confidence and decision-making ability.

 

Women don’t need the bill to prove their power or undermine the opposite sex; they need the bill to uplift other women and bring the right perspective in the parliament which half the population of the country rightfully deserves.

 

Staff Feministaa

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