According to the Constitution 108th Women Reservation Bill, 2008, women should be given a third (33%) of the seats in state legislative assemblies and the Parliament. Within the 33% quota, the law suggests sub-reservation for SCs, STs, and Anglo-Indians. Rotational allocation of reserved seats is an option for several state or union territory constituencies. The seats designated for women will be eliminated 15 years from the amendment act’s start date, according to the approved law.
Women Reservation Bill
Several BJP ministers and MPs, according to sources, have been urged to bring female voters to Parliament in the next few days. On Monday, BJP President JP Nadda met with several of them. The adoption of the Women Reservation Bill, which ensures a 33% quota in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures, has been sought by a number of figures. At its meeting in Hyderabad on Sunday, the Congress Working Committee also adopted a resolution on the subject.
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The Women’s Reservation Bill’s tumultuous legislative history started 27 years ago, in September 1996, when it was tabled in Parliament by the H. D. Deve Gowda-led administration. Since then, almost every administration has attempted to approve it, the UPA administration even succeeded in doing so in the Rajya Sabha in 2010, However, owing to a lack of political will and consensus, the endeavor was unsuccessful.
Key Issues and Analysis of the Women’s Reservation Bill
- Reservation policy is contested. Proponents say affirmative action is needed to help women. Recent panchayat research suggests that reservation empowers women and allocates resources.
- Opponents say it would prolong women’s inequality since they wouldn’t compete on merit. They say this tactic distracts from election reform concerns like the criminalization of politics and inner-party democracy.
- The reservation of Parliament seats limits voter choice to women. Thus, some analysts recommend political party reservation and dual-member seats.
- Rotating reserved seats every election may weaken an MP’s motivation to work for his constituency since he may not be re-elected.
- After the Constitution was altered to enable the OBC quota, the 1996 Women’s Reservation Bill report advocated reservation for OBC women. Reservation was also suggested for the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils. The Bill does not include either suggestion.
What is the way forward?
- India has a sizable female population, which represents a large reservoir of potential that, if unlocked, may propel the nation forward.
- The inclusion of women will kick-start democracy by giving the vast majority of people a voice in how their lives should be run.
Why is the Bill hard to pass?
The current electoral system, which employs the single transferable vote technique, is one of the main obstacles to the implementation of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha. Votes are allocated to favored candidates under this method, making it difficult to reserve seats for certain groups.
There are now no reservations for SCs and STs in the Rajya Sabha, and any move to add them would need to change the voting process under the constitution.
Why is WRB important?
Historically, societal restrictions and discrimination have harmed women.
- Caste groups – Any plan for women’s reservation must adhere to constitutional principles and take caste diversity into consideration.
- Gender quota – Women’s representation would remain minimal without a gender quota, severely undermining our democracy.
- Panchayats – Recent research on panchayats has shown the beneficial impact of reservation on the distribution of resources and the empowerment of women.
- Vote share – Despite an increase in the percentage of women voting, there are still not enough women in positions of authority.
What is the status of Women’s Reservations in India?
- Gujarat – In its 182-member parliament, just 8% of the candidates were women.
- Himachal Pradesh – Where women make up one in every two voters, 67 males have been elected and only one woman.
- National average – The proportion of women in state legislatures nationwide is still at 8%.
- Rankings – According to a survey by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, India is ranked 144th out of 193 nations in terms of the representation of women in parliament.
Why did the parliament fail to pass the WRB?
- Heated debates & sexist taunts – The WRB has seen some contentious discussions and a fair amount of misogyny.
- Quota within quota – The 1996 committee advocated a quota for OBC women under the Bill’s one-third reservation for women, however, this recommendation was never implemented.
Opponents claim that the WRB will not help their ladies as a result of this.
- Lack of political ability – Only the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) of Odisha and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of West Bengal have seats set aside for female candidates in elections.
- Diverts attention – WRB’s detractors claim it draws attention away from more important electoral reform concerns including the criminalization of politics and party democracy.
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