The government on Thursday paved the way for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill by giving its approval to earmark 33 per cent seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
It also cleared the proposal to seek parliamentary approval for determining the constituencies to be reserved for women and their rotation. The reservation of seats for women will be for 15 years.
The government had introduced the Bill in the Rajya Sabha in 2008 which was then sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for vetting. In its report in December 2009, the panel recommended that the Bill be passed in its present form — which the government accepted on Thursday.
As the Bill has already been introduced, the Business Advisory Committee will decide when to slate it for discussion and passage. But parties like Samajwadi Party or RJD, which have been seeking a sub-quota for OBCs and minorities, are bound to oppose it again.
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe women form part of the existing Bill. The panel, which went into the issue of OBC quotas, had urged that the present Bill be passed without any further delay and all other issues be considered “at an appropriate time’’
The UPA would need the backing of the Left and the BJP to pass the constitutional amendment Bill.
At the Cabinet meeting, Kamal Nath sought reservation of seats for women in the Rajya Sabha too, as the upper house plays an equally important role and must get its due share.
Farooq Abdullah said that the strength of the Lok Sabha be increased by one-third and the Central Hall converted to the lower house while the Rajya Sabha could be accommodated in the chamber from where the Lok Sabha functions.