Close on the heels of vice president Venkaiah Naidu’s pitch for women reservation bill, the foundation of former President Pranab Mukherjee will take up the issue for discussion at different platforms, giving impetus to the idea that had been on the backburner for a long time.
The Pranab Mukherjee Foundation will hold a seminar on women reservation bill with the students of Llyod Law College, a premier institution led by legendary legal educationist NR Madhava Menon. The event is set to happen in the third week of this month, followed by a wider seminar involving lawmakers and top political leaders.
Last week, Naidu made a fresh push for the long-awaited Women Reservation Bill and major reforms in the functioning of Indian Parliament, delivering the first Arun Jaitley memorial lecture in Delhi University.
Pointing out that women at present constitute only about 13% of Parliament strength, Naidu urged for “Taking forward the legislation in Parliament for reservation of women in legislatures.” His remarks come when there is hardly any talk in the political circle, especially in the ruling NDA camp, for bringing the women reservation bill that has been gathering dust for almost nine years after the Rajya Sabha cleared it in 2010. According to Chaksu Roy of PRS Legislative Research, “the bill has lapsed and the government will have to bring a new bill if it wants to reserve seats for women.”
The bill aims to reserve one-third seats in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women but faced many political upheavals in the past. The Rajya Sabha had once passed the bill in 2010 but it couldn’t come to the Lok Sabha. While the Congress has supported the bill, the BJP-led NDA has not pushed it after coming to power in 2014.
Dr T K Viswanathan, Director of the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation explained the Women Reservation Bill as an idea whose time has come. “Many big parties including the Congress and the BJP had earlier supported the bill. Then why is it that the bill to give 33% reservation to women is still gathering dust. We want to build opinion and point out to the government that the bill must be cleared,” said Viswanathan.