Gathering consensus on women’s bill, govt tells LS

RSTV Bureau

Venkaiah-NaiduOn International Women’s Day, the government told the Lok Sabha that it was working towards evolving a consensus on the passage of Women’s Reservation Bill which proposes 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and Assemblies.

The present government was continuing to evolve a consensus on the bill just like the erstwhile UPA did, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu after an impromptu debate on women’s empowerment on the occasion of International Women’s Day during which the demands for reservation were raised.

“Our government is working towards evolving consensus… Hope we succeed at the earliest,” Naidu said.

The bill was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010 but it is still stuck in Lok Sabha because of stiff resistance by a number of parties.

When a member from the Opposition wanted concrete assurance, Naidu hit back saying “they (Congress government) could not evolve consensus in 10 years”.

Naidu then went on to speak about the list of schemes initiated under the Modi government for women empowerment.

The mentioned the pet project ‘beti bachao, beti padao’ (save girl child, educate girl child). Naidu spoke about the importance of education for a girl child and said, the earlier governments have worked in this direction but the present dispensation is doing it “more effectively”.

Also, without provision of jobs, the “discrimination” against women will not end, said Naidu.

Another way of ensuring empowerment of women is to ensure that titles are registered in the name of the women under the ‘Housing-for-all’ scheme.

While talking about illegal and anti-social practices like dowry deaths and child marriage, Naidu pressed for “introspection” by the society and “change of mindset” towards women.

“We should ponder over these developments. It is not an issue of this party, that party… I do not want to politicise this. If blame is to be taken, all parties should take responsibility proportionate to the time they ruled,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Congress President Sonia Gandhi pressed for the early passage of the “long-awaited” Women Reservation Bill, asking the government to “give us women our legitimate due”.

Addressing the Lok Sabha where women members were allowed to speak on women’s issues, Gandhi slammed the law that made educational qualifications mandatory for contesting local polls in some BJP-ruled states. She claimed that it denied women their right to contest as it prevented a large number of women from SC/ST groups to exercise their constitutional rights. Gandhi called for “urgent legislative attention” to undo the law.

She highlighted Congress’ role in empowering women, and said that Congress gave the country the first woman Prime Minister, the first woman President and first woman Speaker.

She noted that it was due to Rajiv Gandhi’s vision that women today accounted for over 40 per cent of elected local body and panchayat posts.

It was Congress, she said, that had pledged itself to the woman’s voting rights when the country became independent.

In the Rajya Sabha too, in the zero hour women members spoke on women empowerment and pushed for reservation.

(With inputs from PTI)