Indian Parliament passes landmark Women’s reservation Bill

World | September 23, 2023, Saturday // 18:56
Bulgaria: Indian Parliament passes landmark Women’s reservation Bill

The Parliament of India passed on 21 September 2023 a landmark Bill known as the Women Empowerment Act that reserves one-third of the seats in the Lower House of the Parliament and the state assemblies for women.

The Bill was first passed by the Lower House of the Parliament or the House of people on 20 September 2023 with a near-unanimous 454-2 vote.  Subsequently, the Upper house of the Indian Parliament known as Rajya Sabha or the Council of the States unanimously passed the women’s reservation bill- officially known as the Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill, or the Women Empowerment Act on September 21. 2023. All 214 members present in the House voted to pass the Bill and its six clauses.

The Vice President of India who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Jagdeep Dhankhar called it “a historic achievement. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed the House after the discussion on the bill concluded, said that the unanimity among the Members of Parliament would instil confidence among the public.  Members cheered and thumped their desks after the Bill was passed. The day saw speeches by 72 members, often laced with poetry and couplets. The debate was chaired by a series of women members.

Outlining the various socio-economic measures undertaken by the Indian government to uplift women, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted that there was increasing female enrolment in the central armed forces and the paramilitary forces. She also said that 70% of the beneficiaries of the Small Loans Scheme known as Mudra Scheme were women.

The Women Empowerment Act   - 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam' is the first bill to be tabled in the new Parliament building. The bill has proposed that the reservation will come into effect after the next census and delimitation exercise are completed and will continue initially for 15 years. It would provide quota for weaker sections of the population such as scheduled castes or scheduled tribes within the reserved seats for women. Seats reserved for women will be rotated after each delimitation exercise.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech on the occasion of 77th Independence Day on 15 August 2023 had announced that the women-led development was essential to take the country forward. The PM had recalled that India can proudly say today that it has the maximum number of woman pilots in the civil aviation sector. Women scientists were also leading the Indian Mission to the Moon (Chandrayaan Mission), added the PM. As the President of G-20 group, India also raised the matter of Women-Led Development at the G20 meetings and helped build consensus among the G20 countries on recognizing its importance.

/Embassy of India

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