Women’s reservation bill this session: PM

March 8th, 2008 - 5:39 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) The women’s reservation bill will be introduced during the current budget session, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a delegation of women rights activists Saturday. The group, including Krishna Tirath, Mohini Giri and Nafisa Ali, met Vice President Hamid Ansari and the prime minister on the occasion of International Women’s Day and gave them a charter of demands.

“The signs are very good. The PM said that the reservation bill will be introduced this session,” Akhila Shivadas, head of Centre for Advocacy and Research, told IANS.

She added that an “all party meeting will be held on March 20 to reach a floor consensus on the bill”.

The women’s reservation bill, which sets 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.

In parliamentary debates this week, Left allies of the government and opposition party Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) had asserted that they supported the women’s reservation bill.

Shivadas felt that there was more likelihood of the bill being introduced and approved this time, with the general elections looming ahead.

“None of the political parties can take women for granted at the elections,” she said.

Presenting the charter of demands, Tirath, chairperson of the Women’s Empowerment Committee, said that 33 percent representation in the centre and state legislatures “was a prerequisite for the empowerment of all sections of women”.

When asked what achievement he would like to see at the end of five years, Manmohan Singh told the delegation that he wants the National Rural Health Mission to be successful.

“If this mission succeeds in reaching out to women with healthcare services then the present government can take the credit for doing something substantial for the women of the country,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the women gathered at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in India Gate to pray for world peace and social justice.

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