In a historic moment for gender equality in India, the Rajya Sabha, after a marathon 11-hour debate, passed the Women’s Reservation Bill with overwhelming support. The bill seeks to guarantee 33% representation for women in both the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
On Thursday, a total of 215 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted in favor of the Women’s Reservation Bill, with no opposing votes. The bill had previously been passed in the Lok Sabha, where 454 MPs supported it, while only two voted against it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the significance of this achievement, said, “This Bill will lead to a new confidence in the people of the country. All members and political parties have played a significant role in empowering women and enhancing ‘Nari Shakti.’ Let us give the country a strong message.”
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman clarified the implementation process of the Women’s Reservation Bill, stating that a new Article 334-A will be inserted into the constitution. This article outlines that after the bill is enacted and operational, a fresh delimitation exercise will take place when the first census data becomes available. This exercise will pave the way for the effective implementation of the reservation.
However, concerns were raised during the debate regarding the timeline for implementing the bill. Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal demanded a statement from the Prime Minister and Home Minister, assuring the House that the process of implementing the Women’s Reservation Bill would be completed by 2029. Home Minister Amit Shah had earlier indicated that the reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies would become a reality after 2029, as the bill requires a delimitation exercise based on census data.
The Women’s Reservation Bill represents a significant step toward gender equality in Indian politics and is expected to pave the way for greater representation of women in the country’s legislative bodies, bringing about positive changes in policy and governance.
The passage of this bill highlights India’s commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering women in the political arena, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s history.