Union Cabinet reportedly greenlights Women’s Reservation Bill; official confirmation awaited

The Union Cabinet convened on Monday, and there are speculations that they have approved a bill aimed at providing 33 percent representation to women in both the Lok Sabha and State/UT assemblies. However, there has been no official confirmation of this development.

In the meantime, the primary opposition party, Congress, has voiced its support for this initiative. The bill is anticipated to be introduced during the ongoing special session, which is set to resume activities after relocating to the new parliamentary building on Tuesday.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to a micro-blogging platform to express his views, stating, \”The Congress party has long championed the cause of women\’s reservation. We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and eagerly await the specifics of the Bill. It would have been beneficial to discuss this during the all-party meeting before the Special Session, facilitating consensus rather than operating in secrecy.\”

On March 9, 2010, the Rajya Sabha passed a constitutional amendment bill to establish reservations for women. Initially, the Bill proposed reservations for women in all legislative bodies. However, the Standing Committee recommended restricting the reservation to the Lok Sabha at the national level and the assemblies in states and union territories with legislatures. This recommendation was accepted by the Government and incorporated into the Bill.

As approved by the Rajya Sabha, the Bill introduced a new clause, 330A, which specified, \”Seats shall be reserved for women in the House of the People.\” Since the Lok Sabha did not pass the Bill, it lapsed, necessitating a fresh attempt.

On Sunday, various political parties urged the Government to commence legislative proceedings in the new Parliament building by enacting the Women\’s Reservation bill. Some regional parties advocated for quotas for backward classes and scheduled castes within the broader women\’s reservation framework, which has been a contentious issue in the past.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, declared, \”All opposition parties demanded the passage of the women\’s reservation bill during this Parliament session.\” He also mentioned that the Government had informed them that it was a regular session of Parliament and added, \”Only the Government knows what its intentions are. It may surprise everyone with a new agenda.\” He highlighted issues such as price inflation, unemployment, and the border situation with China that his party raised during the meeting.

Pinaki Misra, a BJD leader, stressed the importance of commencing a new era in the new Parliament building and emphasized the swift passage of the women\’s reservation bill. He pointed out that passing the bill in the Lok Sabha would not be a time-consuming process. Mahua Maji, JMM MP from Jharkhand, advocated for \”reservation within reservation\” within the women\’s reservation bill, suggesting reservations for SC, ST, and OBC women to ensure adequate representation for women from these categories.

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