NEW DELHI: In a significant development, the Union Cabinet on Monday gave its nod for the passage of a bill to ensure 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies, said sources. The Women’s Reservation Bill proposes to reserve 33 per cent or one-third of all seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women. The bill also proposes sub-reservation for SCs, STs, and Anglo-Indians within the 33 per cent quota. Reserved seats should be rotated after each general election, the bill proposes. The sources further said that the bill will be tabled during the ongoing special session of Parliament.
The government, however, is yet to make a formal announcement in this regard as it skipped the customary briefing after the conclusion of the Union Cabinet meeting earlier today.
The Congress has, meanwhile, welcomed the Union Cabinet’s decision to clear the women’s reservation bill in a key meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It’s been a long-standing demand of the Congress party to implement women’s reservation. We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill. This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and consensus could have been built instead of operating under a veil of secrecy,” senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh wrote on X (formally Twitter).
It’s been a long-standing demand of the Congress party to implement women’s reservation. We welcome the reported decision of the Union Cabinet and await the details of the Bill. This could have very well been discussed in the all-party meeting before the Special Session, and… https://t.co/lVI9RLHVY6
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 18, 2023
It may be noted that a surprise Union Cabinet meeting, convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the first day of the Parliament’s five-day special session, concluded after nearly two hours of intense deliberation on Monday evening.
While the specifics of the agenda remained undisclosed, it was reported that the Council of Ministers deliberated upon significant bills listed for consideration during this special session. The gathering took place at the Parliament Annexe building.
Ahead of this pivotal event, Union Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal, along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, held discussions with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. BJP chief JP Nadda was also present during the meeting. Goyal and Joshi also reportedly conferred with PM Modi prior to the session.
Pralhad Joshi, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister, had previously revealed that the ongoing five-day special session will address eight crucial bills. These encompass the Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023; the Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023; the Post Office Bill, 2023; the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023; a bill concerning the welfare of senior citizens; and three bills related to the SC/ST order.
Big Announcements Likely
It is being speculated that the government might introduce unexpected policy measures during the special session. Rumours have circulated regarding two potential subjects for discussion during this parliamentary special session: the ‘One Nation, One Election’ bill and a potential resolution to rename India as Bharat. Nevertheless, no official confirmation has been provided on these matters.
The special session of Parliament, which commenced today, will continue until September 22. On Tuesday, parliamentary activities will transition to a new edifice.
Commencing the discourse on the ‘Parliamentary journey of 75 years starting from Samvidhan Sabha – achievements, experiences, memories, and learnings’ in the Lok Sabha on Monday, the PM reminisced about the imminent relocation of Parliament to the new building on Tuesday, deeming it an emotionally charged moment.
PM Modi Cites Nehru, Atal, Manmohan In His Speech
PM Modi also invoked the era of Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri through Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh, emphasizing their profound impact on the nation under their leadership. He highlighted their achievements, underscoring the occasion as an opportunity to showcase them.
In his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled the words of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, emphasizing the enduring importance of the nation beyond the fluctuations of governments and parties.
He also referenced former PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s iconic speech ‘Tryst with Destiny,’ delivered to the Constituent Assembly in 1947.
“The echoes of Pandit Nehru’s ‘At the stroke of the midnight…’ in this House will keep inspiring us. In this House itself, Atal ji had said, ‘Sarkarein aayegi-jaayegi, partiyan banegi-bigdegi, lekin ye desh rehna chahiye.’ This echoes even to this day,” PM Modi stated in his speech.
He further acknowledged the contributions of figures like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Ram Manohar Lohia, Chandra Shekhar, Lal Krishna Advani, and others who enriched the deliberations in the House, amplifying the voice of the common citizen.
PM Modi also underscored the significance of addresses by various foreign leaders in the House, illustrating their respect for India. He paid homage to moments of national sorrow when the nation lost three Prime Ministers while in office: Nehru, Shastri, and Indira.
The Prime Minister concluded by acknowledging the adept management of the House by speakers despite numerous challenges.