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Women’s Reservation Bill

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the Indian government introduced The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, aiming to provide 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies.
  • The Bill, referred to as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, was introduced by Law Minister in the Lok Sabha.

More about the news

  • The new bill proposes to introduce new articles (330A and 332A) in the Constitution for Lok Sabha and Assemblies, respectively.
    • It includes a sunset clause, making the reservation valid for 15 years from the bill’s commencement.
  • The implementation of the women’s quota is contingent on a delimitation exercise using data from the latest census, scheduled for 2026.
    • Consequently, the earliest implementation of the women’s reservation in the Lok Sabha is expected in the 2029 general election, not in the 2024 polls.
  • The bill does not specify how the reserved seats will be identified, but a separate law is expected to address this.
  • Within the women’s quota, one-third of the seats will be reserved for women from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but there’s no separate quota for women from other backward classes.
  • Currently, seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) are decided based on the Delimitation Act, 2002, considering population proportions.
  • To operationalize women’s reservation, amendments to Articles 82 and 170(3) of the Constitution are required for delimitation.
  • Reservation for women in Panchayati Raj institutions is already in place, with at least 18 states having more than 50% women elected representatives.
    • Article 243D of the Constitution mandates reservation for SCs, STs, and women in Panchayats, with not less than one-third of seats reserved for women.
    • The highest proportion of women representatives in Panchayati Raj institutions was in Uttarakhand (56.02%), and the lowest was in Uttar Pradesh (33.34%), with an overall average of 45.61% women representatives in the country as of September 8, 2021.
  • Women’s representation in the Lok Sabha is currently at 15%, and in many State Assemblies, it’s around 10%.
  • Currently, India’s lower house, Lok Sabha, has 78 elected women MPs out of the total 543 seats — 14.36% of the total number of MPs are women.

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