Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam bill
India’s passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill reflects its commitment to gender equality and women-led development. Explain
Loksabha and Rajyasabha passed 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2023, or the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam
- The initial bill addressing reservation was first presented as the 81st Constitutional Amendment Bill in 1996 during Janata Dal-led United Front government tenure of H. D. Deve Gowda.
- The bill is similar to the Women’s Reservation Bill drafted in 2010 during the tenure of Ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh- government.
What are the Provisions of the bill?
- The proposed legislation defines the 33% women reservation to continue for 15 years.
- It mandates that a quota for individuals belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes be established within the reserved seats designated for women in Parliament and Legislative assembly.
- Bill inserts the clause in Article 330A (reservations in loksabha), Article 332A for state assembly and subsection in Article 239AA for reservation in Delhi
- The quota will not apply to Rajya Sabha or state Legislative Councils.
How is the implementation is carried out ?
- Women’s reservation can be enforced after the delimitation exercise is undertaken in India. This means that the law cannot be implemented before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
- As per existing law, the next delimitation exercise can only be conducted after the first Census undertaken post 2026 means that the bill cannot be implemented until at least 2027.
- Article 82 of the Constitution, as amended in 2002, says the delimitation process can be carried out based on the first Census taken after 2026.
- Originally, the first Census after 2026 was to be carried out in 2031, followed by delimitation.
- The Census was meant to be held last in 2021 but was delayed because of Covid, so the next count might be in 2027.
What are the advantages for women reservation ?
- Gender Equality: Women have been underrepresented in various fields and positions of power. Reservation policies help bridge this gap and ensure a fair representation of women.
- Empowerment: Reservation policies empower women by giving them equal opportunities to participate in decision-making processes.
- Role Models: Female politicians serve as role models for young girls and women, inspiring them to aspire to leadership positions.
- Socio Economic development: With more representation bridge gender gaps in various sectors, including education, employment, and healthcare. Policies formulated by women are more likely to be gender-sensitive and focused on closing these disparities.
- Political Representation: In politics, women's reservation can ensure that their voices are heard and that they have a say in shaping policies that affect them. This can lead to a more inclusive and responsive government.
- Inclusive Society: Women’s reservation ensures that women from diverse backgrounds, regions, and communities have the opportunity to represent their constituencies. This promotes inclusivity and diversity in politics, reflecting the nation’s pluralistic ethos.
- Combatting Patriarchy: India, like many societies, grapples with deeply entrenched patriarchal norms. Women’s reservation challenges these norms by providing a platform for women’s voices and perspectives, gradually contributing to societal change.
- International Reputation: Implementing the 33% Women’s Reservation Bill would enhance India’s international reputation as a progressive and gender-equal nation. This could have positive diplomatic and economic implications by attracting global investments and partnerships.
What are the disadvantages for women reservation ?
- Political Resistance: Male politicians and political parties have resisted the reservation ,might reduce their electoral prospects or diminish their political power.
- Implementation Challenges: There are concerns about the practical implementation of the bill, including the rotation of reserved seats and the logistical complexities of conducting elections with the new reservation system.
- Economic Considerations: Reservations for women may require additional resources for training and support to help them meet the required qualifications. This could be seen as an added financial burden on institutions or organizations implementing such policies.
- Tokenism: Women are included in positions or institutions simply to meet a quota requirement rather than based on their competence or suitability for the role. It undermine the credibility and effectiveness of women in leadership positions.
- Meritocracy Concerns: It may compromise the principle of meritocracy. Critics argue that candidates should be selected based on their qualifications, skills, and abilities rather than their gender. Reservations may lead to the perception that some individuals are given preferential treatment over others based solely on their gender.
- The 33% Women’s Reservation Bill represents a significant step towards achieving gender equality in Indian politics. It has the potential to empower women, promote inclusivity, and lead to more balanced and effective policymaking. While it faces substantial challenges and opposition, it is essential to recognize the importance of women’s representation in political decision-making.