Vijai Sardesai, leader of the Goa Forward Party, expressed support for the bill and emphasised the need for elected representatives to address core issues affecting women in India.
Vijai Sardesai, leader of the Goa Forward Party, expressed his support for the newly proposed Women's Reservation Bill, which aims to allocate a 33 percent quota for women in both the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. In a statement shared on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Sardesai's party quoted him as saying, “Welcome it and hope representation to women will be followed with elected representatives having the merit to take up core issues of almost 50% of the world’s largest democracy."
On the other hand, the Congress party at the centre criticised the Women's Reservation Bill, labeling it as a "political jhumla" and a "massive betrayal" of the aspirations of millions of Indian women and girls. The party termed the move as Modi-led government’s ploy to garner votes ahead of the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The party pointed out that the government has yet to conduct the 2021 Census and stated that the implementation of the women's reservation bill is contingent upon the completion of this census.
Ex-president, Sonia Gandhi, also asserted that the bill was originally conceived by their party, stating, "It's ours..." in response to a media inquiry about the Women's Reservation Bill when she arrived in Parliament.
Here is a comprehensive overview of the Women's Reservation Bill
The Women's Reservation Bill aims to allocate a 33 percent quota of seats in both the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
Additionally, one-third of the seats designated for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be specifically reserved for women belonging to these communities. These reserved seats can be distributed among various constituencies within the respective state or union territory through a rotation system.
The most significant development on this issue occurred in 2010 when the Rajya Sabha successfully passed the bill, even necessitating the removal of certain opposing MPs by marshals. However, the bill ultimately failed to secure passage in the Lok Sabha, resulting in its lapse.
In the current Lok Sabha, a total of 78 women members were elected, constituting less than 15 percent of the total membership of 543. Similarly, in the Rajya Sabha, women's representation stands at approximately 14 percent, based on data provided by the government to Parliament in December of the previous year.
Several state assemblies exhibit an alarming lack of women representation, with less than 10 percent female participation. These states include Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, and Puducherry.
According to government data from December 2022, states like Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi had a relatively higher representation of women MLAs, ranging from 10 to 12 percent. In contrast, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and Jharkhand emerged as leaders in terms of women's representation in their legislative assemblies, with figures of 14.44 percent, 13.7 percent, and 12.35 percent women MLAs, respectively.