In a strong push for the Women’s Reservation Bill, which has been pending for decades, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described its passage as an “agni pareeksha”, or trial by fire, for MPs. The PM said this during the Cabinet meeting on Monday, where the bill was cleared, senior government officials have told NDTV.
The bill, which seeks to provide 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies, will be introduced in Parliament by Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Tuesday.
The officials said the bill is expected to have a provision for reserving one-third of the seats reserved for women for SCs and STs. This demand, for a quota within the quota, is what had prevented the bill from clearing Parliament despite being passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010.
The bill, the officials said, is likely to be fully implemented by 2027, after the Census and delimitation exercises are complete.
A bill seeking to reserve 33% of seats for women was first moved by the Deve Gowda government in 1996. The UPA government then reintroduced the legislation, officially known as the Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, in 2008.
The legislation was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, but it was never introduced in the 15th Lok Sabha and lapsed following its dissolution in 2014.
Government sources said the new legislation, which will be tabled on Tuesday, is different from the one that had been passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, and so it will need to clear both Houses. “It is a constitutional amendment bill,” said a senior official.