New Delhi, Sept 19: The much-anticipated Women’s Reservation Bill, titled ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam,’ was presented in the Lok Sabha by Union Minister of Law and Justice, Arjun Ram Meghwal. The bill aims to reserve 33 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women. However, it will come into effect only after the first delimitation or constituency redrawing, expected to occur in 2027 as specified in the legislation.
Key Highlights of the Women’s Reservation Bill:
- 33 Percent Reservation: The bill proposes to reserve 33 percent or 181 seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women.
- No Reservation in Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils: Notably, there will be no reservation for women in the Rajya Sabha or the state legislative councils.
- 15-Year Reservation Period: The reservation will be applicable for a duration of 15 years after the bill becomes an Act.
- Rotational Reserved Seats: Reserved seats or constituencies will be rotated following each delimitation exercise.
- SC/ST Reservation: Out of the 181 reserved seats, one-third will be designated for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). However, the bill does not include provisions for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
Currently, 181 out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats have been reserved for women. This allocation is expected to change following the next census.
Opposition’s Response to the Bill:
The Women’s Reservation Bill has elicited varied responses from opposition parties. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh expressed skepticism, characterizing the government’s commitment as a “vague promise.”
He raised questions about the timeline for implementation, as the bill specifies that women’s reservation will take effect following the publication of the next Census and subsequent delimitation exercise. Ramesh also inquired whether these processes would be completed before the 2024 elections.
The bill’s presentation marks a significant step toward enhancing female representation in India’s legislative bodies, with a goal of empowering women in the policymaking process at both the state and national levels. While the bill has garnered support, it will be subject to further deliberation and debate as it progresses through the parliamentary process.