Confident PM Says Women Reservation Bill Will Be Passed

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed confidence that the women’s reservation bill seeking to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in legislative bodies will be passed in parliament, reported IANS.

The bill is to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, on International Women’s Day.

Inaugurating the women’s leadership summit in New Delhi, Singh said that Government is committed to social, economic and political empowerment of women, whatever effort and resources the task might take, report said.

Singh observed that reservation for women in local bodies has revolutionized governance at the grass-roots level, reported Zee News.

“We hope to give this movement of political participation of women further fillip by increasing the number of seats reserved in Panchayats and city and town governments to 50 percent.

“More significantly we are moving towards providing one-third reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying.

In his address, Singh condemned low female literacy rate, maternal mortality rate and exceptionally low sex-ratio, said report.

“The gender disparity on the economic front is reflected in the low female work participation rate of 25.7 percent as compared to 51.0 percent for males,” he was quoted as saying.

“While we have shown improvement in these indicators over the years, the progress has been much slower than what we would have liked,” Singh was quoted as saying at the summit.

The women reservation bill, which has been pending for more than 13 years, was first presented in the parliament by then HD Deve Gowda government in 1996

In its present form, the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008, has the backing of the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left. But it is being opposed by the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal-United.

For the bill to be passed, it has to be supported by two-thirds of those present and voting. This figure should also be at least 50 percent of the total number of MPs in the house.

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