Women empowerment can be a political issue for many parties but not for BJP: Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in Lok Sabha

Clause-by-clause voting is underway in the Lok Sabha on the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill seeking to provide one-third reservation to reserve one-third of the total number of seats in Lok Sabha and State legislative assemblies for women. The Bill is called Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. The Bill was introduced yesterday on the first day of proceedings of Lok Sabha in the new Parliament Building. When the Bill was placed before the House for a division of vote, 454 MPs voted in favor of the Bill while two MPs were against it.
Replying to the discussion over the Bill, Union Law and Justice Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said, the bill will provide greater representation to women in policymaking. Earlier, moving the Bill, Mr. Meghwal said, it is a step towards women's empowerment and it will enhance their dignity by ensuring equality of opportunities. He said the present government has taken several steps towards removing social and economic inequalities in the country by implementing several schemes ensuring equality for women.
Speaking on the Bill, Home Minister Amit Shah said, women-led development will start with the passage of the Women Reservation Bill. He said, this Bill would ensure women's participation in the policy-making which was pending for years. Mr. Shah said, women's empowerment can be a political issue for many parties but this is not a political issue for the BJP but it is a working culture for the BJP. He said, that since the formation of this Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, security, dignity, and participation of women have been the focus area of the government. Giving the example of Jan Dhan account, he said, 70 per cent of account holders are women. He said, 11 crore 72 lakh toilets were made across the country which ensured the empowerment of women.

Mr. Shah said, three crore houses were built for women and 12 crore houses have been connected with tap water connections. He said, three crore women have benefitted under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana. Refuting the allegations of opposition parties over the Bill, he said, census and delimitation will be held after the 2024 Lok Sabha Election. Over the less representation of OBC in the Government, Mr. Shah informed the House that 85 MPs and 29 Ministers belong to the OBC category. He said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also belongs to the OBC category.
Earlier, initiating the discussion, senior Congress leader Sonia Gandhi said her party supports this legislation. Highlighting the role of Indian women, she said, women’s patience is like the ocean and she works for everyone's betterment like a river. Recalling the contributions of great leaders Sarojini Naidu, Aruna Asaf Ali, and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Mrs. Gandhi said, that women played an important role in the freedom struggle and in the formation of modern India. She demanded that the women's reservation Bill should be implemented immediately with sub-quota for SCs, STs, and OBCs by conducting the caste-based census.

The Congress leader also said, any delay in implementing the women's reservation Bill would be an injustice to Indian women. She also demanded that the government work towards removing every obstacle in the effective implementation of this Bill. Another party MP Rahul Gandhi said, the Women's Reservation Bill is a big step and everyone in the House agrees that this is a very important step for the women of the country. Demanding a caste-based census, he said, that OBC reservation must be provided under the Bill and this Bill should be implemented immediately. Kanimozhi Karunanidhi of DMK also supported the bill. She said, the Women's Reservation Bill is a poll promise of the BJP, yet, many leaders had to urge them to bring this Bill and pass it.

She raised questions about the actual implementation of this bill. She also raised questions over not conducting the decadal census saying that if delimitation is going to be based on population census it will deprive and reduce the representation of Southern States. Rajiv Ranjan Singh of JD(U) said, provisions must be made to provide reservation to other backward classes under the Women Reservation Bill. He alleged that the government is opposing the caste-based census. Dr. Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of Trinamool Congress raised the issue of atrocities against women by demanding strong action against the perpetrators. Supriya Sule of NCP demanded the government provide reservations for SC, ST, and OBC under the Women Reservation Bill. Echoing the same view, Dimple Yadav of the Samajwadi Party asked the question of whether the provisions of this bill will be applicable to Rajya Sabha and the Vidhan Parishad. She also raised concern over the immediate implementation of the provisions of the bill before the 2024 Lok Sabha election. Harsimrat Kaur Badal of SAD also raised the issue of delayed census saying that it is not clear when the women reservation Bill will be actually implemented.
BJP MP Dr. Nishikant Dubey said, the provisions of this Bill will definitely be implemented. Countering the allegations of the Congress party, he said, census and delimitation would be conducted and accordingly, the reservation would be provided to the women. Union Minister and Apna Dal MP Anupriya Patel said, it is unfortunate that today women's representation in the Lok Sabha stands at 14 per cent and 11 per cent in Rajya Sabha. She said, this Bill is an important step to increase women's representation in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. Jagdambika Pal of BJP termed this bill historic saying that this bill will increase representation of women in policy making and governance. Chirag Paswan of Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) accused the opposition parties of doing politics on women reservation Bill.

Geetha Viswanath Vanga of YSR Congress, Rajashree Mallick of BJD, Sangeeta Azad of BSP, Nama Nageswara Rao of BRS, Bhawana Gawali of Shiv Sena, Jaskaur Meena of BJP, K. Subbarayan of CPI, Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM and others also spoke on the Bill.

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