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    Women’s Reservation Bill gets Union Cabinet approval; Law Minister might introduce in LS


    The Indian government may finally bring the Women's Reservation Bill, which aims to reserve 33% of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women, during a special parliament session. The bill was first introduced in 1996 but has been awaiting approval for 27 years.

    Been a long wait for women's quota bill; it's time for real action (IANS Column: FairPoint)IANS
    The central government is expected to bring the long-pending 'Women's Reservation Bill' during the Special Parliament Session today by Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwa which aims to reserve 33 per cent of seats in Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies for women.

    However, the bill has not been officially listed by the government when it revealed the bills its planning to bring in the Parliament.

    Discussion of the bill representing women in Parliament is expected to be discussed on September 20. After Lok Sabha, the bill will be taken up in Rajya Sabha on September 21, sources said to ANI.

    The Union Cabinet on September 18 approved the women's reservation bill in a meeting after the first special session of Parliament, reported Times Now, citing sources.

    The bill was officially introduced in the Lok Sabha on September 12, 1996 by the UPA government. Since the last 27 years, the bill has been waiting to get approved by the Parliament.

    Timeline of the Bill:
    • 1996: Bill introduced in Lok Sabha by UPA government; failed to get approval in Lok Sabha, it was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee chaired by Geeta Mukherjee.
    • 1996: Report by committee chaired by Geeta Mukherjee presented to lower house on December 9, 1996
    • 1998: Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government re-introduces the bill
    • 1999: NDA government re-introduced the bill in the 13th Lok Sabha session
    • 2002: It moved the Bill again amid pandemonium in 2002
    • 2003: Bill re-introduced
    • 2008: UPA-I government, led by Congress, again introduces it in May 2008 but referred to a standing committee
    • 2010: Passed in the House and transmitted finally to the Lok Sabha
    • 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls: BJP party's election manifesto said it will pass the bill
    Importance of the bill:
    The bill will help to represent those who remain underrepresented.

    At present, women MPs account for less than 15 per cent of Lok Sabha strength while their representation is below 10 per cent in many state assemblies, data shows.

    In the present Lok Sabha, 78 women members were elected which account for less than 15 per cent of the total strength of 543.

    In Rajya Sabha too, women's representation is about 14 per cent, according to the data shared by the government with Parliament last December.

    Several state assemblies have less than 10 per cent women representation, including Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura and Puducherry.

    Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi had 10-12 per cent of women MLAs, according to the government data of December 2022. Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand led the charts with 14.44 per cent, 13.7 per cent and 12.35 per cent women MLAs, respectively.

    The proportion of women MPs was just five per cent in the first Lok Sabha in 1952.
    ( Originally published on Sep 18, 2023 )
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