Ensure adequate women-participation in sixteenth Lok Sabha

SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL
(Guinness Record Holder & RTI Activist)

It is indeed unfortunate that Women-Reservation-Bill could not be passed by fifteenth Lok Sabha even though political parties with much-more than three-fourth majority of Parliament were vocal to support the Bill. Union government can bring an ordinance on women-reservation in Parliament for ensuring adequate representation of women in sixteenth Lok Sabha. Or else Election Commission’s formula to make it compulsory for every political party to give at least 33-percent party-tickets to women may be enforced as an interim measure. However it should be ensured that such distribution may be state-wise rather than on country-basis. Otherwise parties will fulfil formality of women-quota by giving all reserved-tickets to women in states with no base of concerned parties. However to prevent wives or other relations/associates being misused as ‘proxy’ of male politicians, there should be a system whereby name of husband or any other relation may not be permitted in election-campaigns of women candidates.

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2012 had revealed that India is amongst those most backward countries where women-participation in legislature is placed at poor 98th position in the world with just about 10.96 percent women representing in legislature in our male-dominated system. It is significant that in last two decades, many countries refined their election-rules to ensure effective participation of women in legislature improved overall global participation of women in legislature to 19.7 percent while this percent was 27.4 percent in countries with special women-quota under election rules. Even Islamic world including Pakistan and many other democratic countries including fresh democracy in Nepal have adopted Women-Reservation in legislature.

At a time when women-quota in panchayats and local bodies is being increased to 50-percent from earlier 33-percent, it is meaningless to resist 33-percent reservation to women in legislature. Rather there should be uniform 33-perecent reservation for women at all stages from civic bodies to Parliament.

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