Centre to finalise draft for Women’s Reservation Bill today

May 5th, 2008 - 12:57 pm ICT by admin  

Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 5 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday is likely to chair a high level meeting of the Law Ministry to finalise the roadmap for the Women’s Reservation Bill.
The Prime Minister had recently told a Communist Party of India (CPI) delegation that his Government plans to introduce the Bill during the ongoing budget session of Parliament and the Cabinet would finalise its modalities.
There are two options left before the Centre. The first one is to seek a 33.3 per cent reservation for women within the existing strength of the two houses of Parliament and the other is to increase the overall strength of Parliament by 33.3 percent.
Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav have opposed the Bill in its present form and have sought a quota within quota for women belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
When asked about the Government’s plans to table the Bill in Parliament, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj said: “It is dependent on the will power of the Prime Minister. I think they only want to introduce the Bill in this session. If they wanted to pass it they would have introduced it long ago.”
The proposed legislation to reserve 33.3 percent seats in Parliament and state legislatures for women was drafted first by the H D Deve Gowda-led United Front government. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on September 12, 1996. Though it has been introduced in Parliament several times since then, the Bill could not be passed because of lack of political consensus.
If the Bill is passed, one-third of the total available seats would be reserved for women in national, state, or local legislatures.
In continuation of the existing provisions already mandating reservations for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, one-third of such SC and ST candidates must be women.
Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh argue that reservation would only help women of the elitist groups to gain seats, therefore causing further discrimination and under- representation to the poor and backward classes. (ANI)

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