President asks political parties to show commitment for Women’s Bill


President Pranab Mukherjee has appealed to all political parties to show commitment to pass the Women’s Bill. The 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill seeks at providing 33% reservation to women in the Parliament and state assemblies. The bill has already been cleared by the Rajya Sabha, but is still pending in the Lok Sabha.

“Reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies would be the fulfillment of ideals behind the Panchayati Raj Act,” Mr Mukherjee said, while addressing a conference on “Women legislators: building a resurgent India”, organised by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in New Delhi.

Appreciating Vice President Hamid Ansari’s suggestion that all political parties should make a start by giving at least 33 per cent of the electoral tickets to women candidates was a good one Mr Mukherjee said that unless it was followed by all political parties it will not be successful.

Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his commitment to women empowerment, Mr Mukherjee said: “As soon as he was elected Prime Minister, he gave the slogan of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, and the fact that he is here, when he does not have to speak, for this function, shows his commitment to women’s empowerment. ”

Speaking about the importance of reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies, Ms Mahajan said that economic growth was not the only measure of holistic development and there should be equal focus on social development as well.

Implementation in states

Some states have already implemented 50 percent reservation in local bodies for women. Though some states has already provided 50 per cent reservation to women in Panchayats, but through the Constitutional Amendment, it will be implemented in the whole country.

Like any constitutional amendment pertaining to states, this would also require ratification by half of the states. Currently, 50% reservation for women is in place in urban local bodies of 14 states and gram panchayats of 17 states.

There is more optimism among women as they are likely to play a larger role in governance. This could also help improve transparency in governance. The government is likely to push the bill through the Lok Sabha to implement reservation for women in the ongoing budget session.


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