Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the Women's Reservation Bill would be taken up in Parliament during the current session, amid indication that it would be brought in Rajya Sabha on March 8, the International Women's Day.
Announcing this while replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's address, Singh sought the support of members on this important legislation.
"We introduced the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha in May, 2008. We have already considered the Report of the Standing Committee of Parliament on this bill. I sincerely hope that members would support the bill, as it would be the strongest affirmation of our commitment to the empowerment of women," he said.
The Prime Minister's announcement, which was welcomed with thumping of desks by several members, came close on the heels of Union Minister Prithviraj Chavan saying in the Rajya Sabha that the measure was on next week's agenda for the House.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal has already given hints that the bill would be taken up in Rajya Sabha on March 8. It is for the government to decide the business after getting approval from the Business Advisory Committee.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has already said that she personally attaches the "highest importance" to the bill, which seeks to reserve 33 per cent seats for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
Singh's statement showed that the government was determined to go ahead with the Women's Reservation Bill despite opposition from certain parties like RJD, SP and JD (U) and sees no problem in its passage.