Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday moved a resolution in the Assembly, seeking 33 per cent reservation for women in legislative assemblies and Parliament.
"I initiate the discussion on this historic motion for providing 33 per cent reservation for women in legislative assemblies and the Parliament," Mr Patnaik said, while moving the resolution for the consideration of the House.
Stating that Odisha must show its commitment and resolve to the entire country that it is the land where women are truly empowered and truly involved in nation-building, the chief minister appealed to all the lawmakers to extend their support and unanimously adopt the resolution.
He said the empowerment of women is very close to his heart. "No household, no society, no state, no country has ever moved forward without empowering its women."
Mr Patnaik said initiatives like girls' education, loans at 1 per cent interest rate, hostels for 5 lakh tribal girls, provision of Rs 7 lakh for women under its healthcare insurance scheme and land rights for women were among the many initiatives his government had taken to improve their socio-economic condition.
In 1992, Mr Patnaik said, his legendary father and former chief minister, Biju Patnaik, had brought women to the realm of political decision-making by providing 33 per cent reservation for them in local bodies.
"The principle of gender equality is enshrined in our Constitution. Biju Babu was the true champion of women's empowerment," he said.
"I am confident that the mothers and sisters who run their household so efficiently will run the panchayat samiti and zilla parishad with equal competence," Mr Patnaik quoted his father as saying, while making a provision of 33 per cent reservation for women in the three-tier Panchayati Raj system and urban local body.
"My government has further enhanced it (reservation for women in panchayat and ULBs) to 50 per cent. In fact, its heartening to know that, in real numbers, it's much more than 50 per cent," Mr Patnaik said.
"This bold, aspirational and new Odisha has voices which must be heard across panchayats, legislative assemblies and the Parliament," he added.