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Both Centre And Opposition Engage In Trading Barbs Over Women’s Reservation Bill In Parliament

As soon as the new Parliament’s two Houses met for the first time on Tuesday, lawmakers of the Centre and the Opposition began exchanging jabs over the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, or Women’s Reservation Bill, which Union law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal had tabled in the Lok Sabha.

The Bill ensures that women would hold 33% of the seats in state assemblies and the lower house of the Parliament. Beginning with the date the Act takes effect, the reservation will be exercisable for a period of 15 years. More time can be added by the Parliament.

The planned reservations would reportedly be put into effect after becoming an Act once the delimitation procedure based on the following decadal census is finished.

Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party, will speak in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday during the discussion of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, or women’s reservation bill.

In the Constitution (128th Amendment) Bill of 2023, three new articles and one new clause are proposed.

According to the new 239AA clause, women must hold one-third of the seats reserved for members of the scheduled caste (SC), one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct elections, and one-third of the seats in the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

In accordance with the new Article 330A, women are now eligible for a third of the Lok Sabha seats allocated for SCs and STs as well as a third of all seats to be filled through direct elections.

According to the new article 332A, women are entitled to one-third of the seats reserved for SCs and STs as well as one-third of all seats to be filled through direct elections to the Legislative Assembly (LA).

The new article 334A states that the reserve will take effect after the delimitation is completed and the pertinent data from the first census has been released. The rotation of seats for women shall take effect after each subsequent exercise of delimitation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for more inclusion of women in policy-making and said that September 19 is going to be ‘immortal’ owing to the introduction of the women’s reservation bill.

However, the Opposition including Congress said the Bill was a ‘jumla’ by the BJP government and added that it is a ‘huge betrayal’ of Indian women. To this, the BJP responded that Congress was never serious about providing reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

“Sadly, the opposition is unable to digest this. And, what is more shameful is that except tokenism, the Congress has never been serious about women’s reservation,” Union minister Amit Shah said.

Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, sparked a heated debate when he said that most political parties do not grant seats to women from underrepresented groups. He continued to criticize PM Modi, claiming that his administration has caused the federal government to “weaken.”

“All political parties have this habit that they give tickets to weaker women. I know how parties select women of scheduled caste, backward classes…Tickets are given to such women of weaker sections that they should not open their mouth… It is so in all parties of the country and that is why women are lagging behind. You do not allow them to speak and don’t allow their rights,” Kharge said during his speech.

Union finance minster Nirmala Sitharaman gave a sharp reaction to Kharge’s statement and said the Oppostion cannot insult people like that.

“Who is Droupadi Murmu? Opposition leader cannot insult people like this, cannot draw a differentiation between women… We are asking for reservation for all women,” the Union minister said.

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