Women Reservation Bill 2023 : Following extensive and impassioned deliberations, the historic bill advocating a 33 percent reservation for women in parliamentary and state assembly seats successfully passed through the Lok Sabha today. This momentous achievement marks the bill’s inaugural approval in the lower house of Parliament. Below are the key highlights of this significant development:
Women Reservation Bill 2023
- The bill attained approval through a voice vote during a five-day special session convened to commemorate India’s 75 years of Independence in the newly inaugurated Parliament.
- The bill garnered resounding support, with 454 Members of Parliament (MPs) casting their votes in favor, while only two MPs opposed it. The bill is slated for presentation in the Rajya Sabha on the fourth day of the special session, tomorrow.
- However, the actual implementation of the quota is contingent upon the completion of a census and delimitation process, which has the potential to extend the timeline by at least six years. This aspect has emerged as a contentious point for the Opposition.
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah, nevertheless, assured that both the delimitation and census procedures would commence after the upcoming general elections next year.
- Notably, this marks the maiden passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha. The previous attempt in 2008, drafted by the UPA government, successfully cleared the Rajya Sabha but faced obstacles due to demands from certain parties advocating for reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
- Minister Amit Shah accused opposition parties of lacking the resolve to advance the bill and of politicizing this crucial issue. He retraced the bill’s history, spanning from HD Devegowda to Manmohan Singh, underscoring the recurring setbacks.
- In her opening remarks, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi emphasized that the bill’s inception took place during the tenure of the UPA government. She questioned the protracted delay, stating, “How many years will they (women) have to wait… two… four… eight? Is this right? Congress demands the immediate implementation of the bill,” and advocated for reservations for women from SC, ST, and OBC communities.
- Rahul Gandhi of the Congress party expressed reservations regarding the necessity of conducting a new census and delimitation for implementing the bill. He voiced concerns that these prerequisites might unduly prolong the process by several years.
The passage of the Women’s Quota Bill in the Lok Sabha represents a momentous milestone, signifying progress toward achieving gender parity in India’s political arena. Nevertheless, the road ahead, including the bill’s approval in the Rajya Sabha and subsequent enactment, is expected to be characterized by further dialogues and debates.