Elders seek passage of reservation bill

Its Womens Day: Lok Sabha members focus on the safety bill

Elders seek passage of reservation bill

Cutting across party lines, members of the Rajya Sabha on Friday stressed on passing the bill guaranteeing 33 per cent reservation for women in the lower house of Parliament and in state legislatures.

Members of the Lok Sabha focussed on the women’s safety bill, in the event of the protests in Delhi following the gang-rape of a student in a moving bus on December 16.
On March 9 2010, the Upper House passed the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008, also known as the Women’s Reservation Bill. However, it is yet to be cleared in the Lower House.

Soon after the Rajya Sabha met for the day, Chairman Hamid Ansari mentioned about the International Women's Day and said though women have made remarkable progress in economic, political and social spheres, gender equality remains a distant dream.

Conveying his concerns about female foeticide, honour killings and growing violence against women, Ansari said: "There is an urgent need to make self-introspection and shape public opinion and perceptions so that women can achieve their potential and live a dignified life.”  He dispensed with the Question Hour and allowed members to make brief submissions Citing growing instances of rape, molestation, domestic violence and public thrashing of women by law-enforcers, Jaya Bachchan of the Samajwadi Party said that a change of mindset is necessary to make the society care for women.

Rajni Patil of the Congress recalled former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s efforts to ensure one-third reservation for women in Panchayats and local bodies. “If we want to celebrate Women's Day, the women's reservation bill should be passed by Parliament,” the member said. D Raja of the CPI also insisted on the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill, saying Parliament should take all steps for political and social empowerment of women.

Najma Heptullah and Maya Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party also appealed for early passage of the Bill.  Brajesh Pathak of the Bahujan Samaj Party said interests of women from Dalit and backward classes, economically weaker sections and minorities should be ensured while reserving seats in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar took the lead in the discussions, saying that there is a need for men to change their mindset towards perpetration of violence against women, despite steps taken by the government to prevent it. Leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj said women face perpetual danger before and after birth, referring to female foeticide and rape.

She also said that women felt unsafe after nightfall in Delhi, stating that the situation is not any different in other parts of the country. 

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