Friday, June 16, 2017

The 33% !

Affirmative action globally has been a way forward to proactively involve people across the society, thereby ensuring opportunities for the sections of the society and empowering the less privileged. Less privileged would encompass economic, social, gender, regional and is not restricted to a certain category.

In India Affirmative action is identified as Reservation, and there have been many debates for and against Reservation, but the truth remains that Reservations indeed has helped the socially background section of the society to join the main stream seamlessly. But there is still a long way to go to ensure socially backward communities to reach a level playing ground.

Reservation for Women in Panchayats, Municipality, Assembly and Parliament has been a very seriously debated issue, even though at Panchayats and Municipality level there is already Reservation for Women and it has given political identity, women in our Assemblies and Parliament is a rare sight! One would have assumed that with political empowerment at the Panchayat and Municipality women would reach Assemblies and Parliament eventually, but it has not been so.

Hence, Reservation for women in Assemblies and Parliament has now reach a point where it’s not only important but immediate requirement too. The % of women in Assemblies and Parliament has been on a decline and much lesser compared to even our neighboring countries. Empowering women politically is the most important step towards seeking a gender equal society. The push towards 33% Reservation in Assemblies and Parliament was made in 2008, but due to the lack of numbers in the Lok Sabha the Women Reservation Bill that was passed in Rajya Sabha lapsed as it could not sail through the Lok Sabha.

Now the time has come, when both the national parties has promised the passing of the 33% Women Reservation Bill in their manifesto and both have the numbers in LS & RS so the passing of the bill should be just a formality. Bill or no Bill its time political parties start with more representation for women and also consider more women candidates for Assembly and Parliament elections.

With Sonia Gandhi, President of the Indian National Congress taking the lead with a signature campaign to put pressure on the BJP lead NDA Govt at the center to table the Bill and create a passage to pass the Bill, we hope to see 33% women in our Assemblies and Parliament.