With less than 48 hours left for his government to introduce the Women’s Reservation Bill in Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear on Saturday that his government was firmly committed to providing one-third reservation for women in Lok Sabha and in state legislatures.
Inaugurating the Women’s Leadership Summit on Inclusive Growth and Empowering the Women of Rural India, Singh said, nearly 40 per cent of the elected members in Panchayats were women and he hoped to give the women’s political participation movement a boost “by increasing the number of seats reserved in Panchayats, city and town governments to 50 per cent”.
Pointing out that the government was on a a clear path to ensuring women’s empowerment — be it social, economic, or political — he said: “Significantly we are moving towards providing one-third reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state legislatures.”
Singh said his government had been focussing on women’s development issues and added “today nearly half of those who get work under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme happen to be women. Out of the 3.5 million self-help groups formed under the Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana, 2.3 million are those of women”.