PM Modi, addressing the inaugural session in the new Parliament on Tuesday, strongly advocated for the Women’s Reservation Bill.
Declaring himself chosen by the divine for this noble cause, the Prime Minister emphasized the need for greater focus on women’s leadership in development. This comes after the bill, which proposes a 33 percent reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures, was approved by the Union Cabinet late yesterday and presented to Parliament this afternoon. “The world understands that merely discussing women’s development is not enough… This is a significant step taken on this platform,” he proclaimed.
PM Modi also took a dig at the opposition, stating that previous governments, particularly those led by the Congress, had failed to pass this bill. He told Parliament, “Parliament has attempted to pass (the bill) before… Discussions on women’s reservation have been ongoing for years. We can proudly say that we have made history.”
The Prime Minister further announced, “In the past, Atal Ji’s (late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee) tenure saw this bill presented multiple times… (Now) I have been chosen by God for this sacred task.” Hopes are high for an improved image ahead of next year’s general elections.
PM Modi had previously likened passing the bill – presented today by Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal – to a “litmus test” for MPs.
Women’s Reservation Bill The bill proposes a 33 percent reservation for women in both Parliament and state legislative assemblies.
Debate on this bill will take place in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday and in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Despite approval by the Rajya Sabha in 2010 due to differences over reservations for women in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities, the bill failed to gain approval in Parliament due to opposition and lack of a specific timeframe for its implementation.
This time, however, with a strong majority in the Lok Sabha and support from allies in the Rajya Sabha, the bill is on the verge of becoming law.
Nevertheless, it can’t be implemented until after the 2029 census because it depends on data from the census, which has not yet been conducted, and demarcation or redrawn constituencies, which will rely on that data.
Partial implementation will only occur in 2027 – after the next census.
The Congress says, “This is ours.” Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi claimed the bill on behalf of our party and called it “ours.” The Congress also welcomed the reintroduction of the bill by the government.
Ms. Gandhi told reporters, “This is ours, it belongs to us.”
PM says, “I apologize.” Meanwhile, addressing a new beginning in the new Parliament building, the Prime Minister offered an apology for any harm inflicted, intentionally or unintentionally, on anyone.
Today is ‘Michhami Dukkadam’ (a Jain festival)… It’s a wonderful tradition. Today is the day when we can say ‘Michhami Dukkadam’… It’s an opportunity for us to seek forgiveness from anyone we may have knowingly or unknowingly harmed. I want to say ‘Michhami Dukkadam’ to all Members of Parliament and the people of India.
These remarks were made in the context of seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, a significant part of the Jain festival.