Passing women’s reservation bill one of my dreams: Speaker

March 8th, 2008 - 9:42 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee Saturday said that it was one of his dreams to pass the women’s reservation bill before his tenure ended. “I espouse the women’s reservation bill. I do not see any reason why this bill should not be passed. It is my dream that before my tenure ends the bill becomes part of the constitution of India,” Chatterjee said at a function organised on the occasion of International Women’s Day here.

“Though there are many laws for women’s welfare, they have remained in the statute book only due to lack of awareness among people,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader said.

The women’s reservation bill, which aims to set aside one-third of seats in parliament and state assemblies for women, has been hanging fire since 1996 due to opposition from certain parties who want special quota-in-quota for women from backward communities.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too told a delegation of women’s rights activists Saturday that the bill would be introduced during the current budget session.

Chatterjee, while speaking at the function, also urged the government to include fulfilling of nutritional needs of citizens, especially women, in the national policy.

“Nutritional policy has to be part of development policy. Development without public health is anathema,” the Chatterjee said.

The speaker applauded the work done by the Parliamentary Forum on Women and Children and asked them to work towards spreading awareness about malnourishment.

“The cost of treating malnourishment is 27 times higher than the cost of preventing it. Therefore, the forum should become active in spreading awareness about micronutrient deficiencies though fairs and exhibition across the country,” he stressed.

Nearly 58 percent of Indian women are anaemic and victims of malnourishment, the speaker pointed out.

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