The Women’s Reservation
The Women’s Reservation

The Women’s Reservation Bill in Simple Terms

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In the new Parliament building, a bill for women’s reservation was presented by Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal. Here’s what it’s all about:

  • The bill is called the 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill.
  • It suggests reserving 33% of seats for women in Parliament and state assemblies.
  • This means out of 543 Lok Sabha seats, 181 will be reserved for women.

What Does the Bill Include?

  • The bill reserves one-third of seats in Lok Sabha, state assemblies, and Delhi assembly for women.
  • However, seats for women aren’t reserved in Union Territories like Puducherry.
  • The bill also allocates one-third of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) for women.
  • Currently, there are 131 SC-ST reserved seats in Lok Sabha, and 43 of these will be for women.

The Process:

  • The bill needs to be passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha with a two-thirds majority.
  • After that, a delimitation process will be carried out based on population figures.
  • Delimitation last happened in 2002 and was implemented in 2008.
  • Women’s reservation can only be effective after delimitation and dissolving Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
  • Implementing women’s reservation before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections seems unlikely.
  • Once implemented, it will be valid for 15 years, with the possibility of extension.

Rotating Reserved Seats:

  • After each delimitation process, there will be a rotation of reserved seats, with details to be decided by Parliament later.
  • This constitutional amendment will authorize the government to provide women’s reservation in Parliament and state assemblies.
  • Local bodies like panchayats and municipalities also reserve one-third of seats for women with rotation in every election.

Challenges:

  • The bill doesn’t specify how seats will be reserved in union territories with only one Lok Sabha seat.
  • A previous Women’s Reservation Bill from 2010 addressed this issue, reserving seats in certain cycles.

Current Women’s Representation:

  • In the 17th Lok Sabha, 82 women were elected, making up about 15% of the total members.
  • In 19 state assemblies, women’s representation is less than 10%.
  • Globally, the United Nations states that the average representation of women in parliaments is 26.5%.

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