Sonia Gandhi urges Modi to pass Women's Reservation Bill
21 Sep 2017
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has urged PM Narendra Modi to use his party's majority in the Lok Sabha to get the Women's Reservation Bill passed.
In 2010, the Rajya Sabha had approved the bill which had then been returned to the Lok Sabha. It's been pending since then.
Earlier, the CPI-M had urged the passage of the bill, reminding Modi of his 2014 promise.
What is the Women's reservation bill?
The current version of the Women's Reservation Bill, the 108th Amendment (2010), seeks to reserve 33% of all seats in governing bodies at the Center, State and Local level.
For reservation in the Lok Sabha, one-third of all constituencies will be reserved for women on a rotation basis for one in every three general elections.
The bill has helped improve women's representation in panchayats.
What is the opposition to the bill?
Many opponents to the bill say there should be reservations for lower caste and minority women within the 33% quota, or else upper caste women would dominate the seats.
Opponents also suspected that nepotism would ensure that only daughters and wives of politicians would get elected instead of individuals of merit.
Opponents have also proposed making 33% reservation for women mandatory in political parties.
What does Sonia Gandhi have to say about it?
"I am writing to request you to take advantage of your majority in the Lok Sabha to now get the Women's Reservation Bill passed in the Lower House as well," Gandhi wrote in a letter to Modi.
"Surely, maximum governance doesn't mean having double standards in dealing with women's rights. Surely, maximum governance also means giving us women our legitimate due," she said earlier.
62 out of 543 is highest number of women MPs
In the current Lok Sabha, there are just 62 women out of a total 543 MPs. However, this is the highest number of women MPs elected to the Lok Sabha. Last time, there were 58.
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