Friday, December 1, 2023

INDIA bloc strategizes ahead of Women’s Reservation Bill Debate in Lok Sabha

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As the Lok Sabha prepares for a critical discussion on the Women’s Reservation Bill, also known as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam Bill, on the third day of the ongoing Parliament special session, leaders of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) are convening to chart their course of action for the parliamentary floor.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the office of Rajya Sabha leader of the Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge, located within the Parliament premises. The five-day special session, which commenced on Monday, is set to conclude this Friday.

The primary focus of this session in Lok Sabha is the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam Bill, a proposed legislation tabled for discussion by the Center. The bill aims to reserve 33 percent of seats in Lok Sabha and all state Assemblies for women, marking a significant stride towards gender equality in Indian politics.

Reports indicate that Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party, is expected to lead the debate on behalf of her party as the Women’s Quota Bill comes up for discussion. The bill received approval from the Union Cabinet earlier this week.

Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the bill during the first sitting of Lok Sabha in the newly inaugurated Parliament building on Tuesday. The legislation, formally titled the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, is being heralded as a significant step towards women’s empowerment.

Addressing the house during the bill’s introduction, Minister Meghwal emphasized, “This bill is related to women’s empowerment. By amending Article 239AA of the Constitution, it reserves 33 percent of seats for women in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, alongside Article 330A, which addresses seat reservations for SC/ST communities in the House of People.”

Furthermore, Minister Meghwal noted that the passage of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam would increase the number of seats allocated to women in Lok Sabha to 181.

The bill is slated for discussion in the Rajya Sabha on September 21, according to government sources.

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, proposes the introduction of three new articles and one new clause to the Constitution, ushering in comprehensive reforms.

Under the new clause in Article 239AA, seats will be reserved for women in the Delhi Legislative Assembly. It also specifies that one-third of seats reserved for SCs shall be allocated to women, and one-third of the total number of seats filled by direct elections will be reserved for women as determined by parliamentary law.

In accordance with the new Article 330A, reservation for women in Lok Sabha will include one-third of seats reserved for SCs and STs. Additionally, one-third of the total seats filled by direct elections to the Lok Sabha will be reserved for women.

Article 332A introduces the concept of reserved seats for women in every state Legislative Assembly. It outlines that one-third of seats reserved for SCs and STs shall be allocated to women, with one-third of total seats filled by direct elections to the Legislative Assembly also reserved for women.

Lastly, Article 334A outlines that the reservation will come into effect following the delimitation process after the first census figures are published. The rotation of seats for women will take effect after each subsequent exercise of delimitation.

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