New Delhi: The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government may introduce the women’s reservation Bill in the budget session of Parliament as a panel of lawmakers has “strongly” recommended that the legislation be passed at the earliest without any dilution.
Empowering women: Congress MP Jayanti Natarajan. Hindustan Times
The parliamentary standing committee on personnel, public grievances and law and justice, headed by senior Congress member of Parliament (MP) Jayanti Natarajan, said the Bill, which seeks to provide 33% reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, should be be passed in its present form and that the decision should not be “left to the discretion of political parties” as proposed by the Election Commission of India (EC) earlier.
“The committee feels that already more than 12 years have elapsed after the Geeta Mukherjee committee report and the still much-required reservation has not reached 50% of population of the nation, namely women,” the panel said.
The Samajwadi Party (SP), which has been opposing the legislation, did not agree with the report, which was tabled in both houses on Wednesday. The SP members have given a dissenting note, saying there should be a quota for women belonging to other backward class and minorities in the legislation. The party’s MPs staged protests inside the Lok Sabha on Wednesday demanding the dropping of the Bill.
Rashtriya Janata Dal and Pattali Makkal Katchi members also expressed reservations, but did not submit dissent notes.
Approval for the long-pending legislation will help the party enhance its “welfare-friendly” image and “enlarge its social base,” analysts said.
Congress expects the legislation to consolidate its social base among women and needs the Bill to safeguard its credibility.
The committee has suggested that the period the reservation will be in force, set as 15 years, could be reconsidered “once the equalisation process is done and adequate political representation of women is achieved”.