In the last few days there has been a lot of discussion on this topic and every individual has his or her own opinion. What exactly is this bill? How does it make any difference in the existing scenario of our country? What are the possible loop holes and apprehensions of a certain individuals who even went on to misbehave in the parliament and tried to snatch the mic of the speaker when the parliament was in session and marshals had to be called to escort them out of the house, ensuring the smooth functioning of the proceedings?
According to the bill 33.3% of the total seats in all forms of representations across the country will be reserved for women. This ranges from a seat in either houses of the parliament down to the state and the local legislatures. Since the time of independence there has been concern expressed on the low representation of women in the political structure of the country. Time and again voices were raised to empower the upliftment of women by reserving their representation in the political system. The low representation is well documented. For example, the number of women candidates in the 14th lok sabha was 44/539 seats. It was thought that by passing this bill the gender bias in the representatives would come down significantly. On the negative side, few parties are concerned about the male leaders who would lose their constituency if there are reserved for women. This would deprive all males from that constituency to contest elections and represent there people. Moreover, another major concern of this bill is that there is no sub reservation for women from the sc,st and other OBC’s. This may lead to the transfer of power from men to women of upper class and so may not bring any change in the situation of the women of lower strata.
How can we overcome these problems? What can be done to ensure that in the name of women empowerment, men are not entrapped! Women empowerment is here to stay. So, the bill is definitely a positive step in this direction. However, men’s interest can be secured by ensuring that a rotation policy is maintained in the reservation policy, so that women of every region get a chance of representing their constituency and men not deprived completely of representing there place. As for the concerns of the backward classes, a 10% reservation of the 33.3% would help in getting a significant representation of women of such classes in the system. Instead of bragging and misbehaving in the parliament, members must take up these matters and ensure that this bill helps in the upliftment of women and overcome problems like abuse, rape, dowry, so on… and not a mere political stunt to garner the vote bank of this country.
It is for us to wait and watch to see whether the 81st amendment of the constitution bring about any change in the poor and pathetic political situation of our country or becomes just another amendment with no purpose and vision.