Guwahati, Sep 19: Despite India’s progress in several other fields, women’s political representation remains dismally low. It can be fathomed from the fact that women MPs account for less than 15 per cent of Lok Sabha strength while their representation is below 10 per cent in many state assemblies, according to data.
In a bid to ensure greater representation of women in the national and state legislature, the Women Reservation Bill also called the 'Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam' was introduced in Lok Sabha of the new Parliament building amid the ongoing special session on Tuesday. The bill was introduced as the 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill by the Union law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.
While the buzz around the passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill has taken centre stage in the parliament, the bill has been marred by several consequences since 1996. It was later passed by the Rajya Sabha and transmitted to the Lok Sabha in 2010. However, it lapsed due to dissolution in the Lok Sabha.
This crucial bill aims to allocate a 33 per cent quota for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. The authority responsible for determining the allocation of reserved seats will be as specified by Parliament.
Various political parties urged the Government to begin the legislative business in the new building of the Parliament with the passage of the Women’s Reservation bill.
The Lok Sabha comprises a total of 545 seats. Out of these, elections are conducted by the Election Commission to fill 543 seats. The remaining two seats are filled by nomination of representatives of the Anglo-Indian Community if the President feels that this community has not been represented adequately. Out of the elective seats, 79 are reserved for SC and 41 for ST.
In the present Lok Sabha, 78 women members were elected which account for less than 15 per cent of the total strength of 543. As per reports, the women's reservation bill seeks to reserve a 33 per cent quota in Lok Sabha and state assemblies. One-third of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be reserved for women from those groups.
Reservation shall come into effect after the delimitation is undertaken after the relevant figures for the first census have been published. The rotation of seats for women shall take effect after each subsequent exercise of delimitation.
There are 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam. In its notification issued on August 11, the election commission (EC) had retained all 126 assembly and 14 parliamentary seats but revised the names of 19 assembly and one Lok Sabha seat. Apart from reorganising areas of constituencies, the commission reserved 19 assembly and two Lok Sabha seats for STs and nine assembly and one Lok Sabha seat for SCs.
As of 2022, women constitute less than 15 per cent of Lok Sabha members and their representation is even below 10 per cent in many state assemblies including Assam. Women comprised 14.94% and 14.05% of MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively. Assam comprised only 4.76% of women representatives in the state assembly.
As per the new quota the number of women members in Lok Sabha will rise to 181 from 82, if the bill comes into force.
Meanwhile, if the bill is passed by the parliament, Assam will have approximately 4 seats in Lok Sabha and about 40 seats in the State Assembly reserved for women.