After two days of uproar and chaos, the Rajya Sabha finally passed the Women’s Reservation Bill on Tuesday. Support for the bill was overwhelming, with 186 votes in favour of it and just one vote against it. The passage of the bill represents a major political victory for the ruling Congress party even though it has lost the support of parties like the RJD and the Samajwadi Party in the bargain.
The Women’s Reservation Bill provides 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha, and in state Assemblies. Because the bill was a constitutional amendment, it needed at least half the members of the house to be present and at least two-thirds of those present to support it.
Tata Consultancy Services may have won a major contract from the UK government, but politics could put it in jeopardy. The UK’s opposition Conservative party has promised to review the contract if it comes to power after elections in June. The party has criticized the UK government for awarding the long-term contract just months before the country goes to the polls. The contract in question is a Rs4,150 crore agreement to administer a pension programme called the National Employment Savings Trust.
Ford is hoping its new vehicle will help it break into India’s small car market. On Tuesday, the company unveiled its new global small car, the Figo. Petrol versions of the Figo will cost just Rs350,000 while diesel versions will cost about Rs488,000.
Also in auto news, Hero Honda is planning a major expansion in its production capacity. It says it’s going to build a second factory that will be able to churn out 600,000 vehicles. Hero Honda’s new factory will cost Rs470 crore and will become operational in the second half of 2011.
Environment minister Jairam Ramesh says India will now associate itself with last year’s climate accord in Copenhagen. The move adds India to a list of more than one hundred countries other than China that are party to the agreement.