New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee asked political parties to show "commitment" for the revival of the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, aimed at giving 33 per cent reservation to women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies at the inaugural function of National Conference of Women Legislators at New Delhi's Vigyan Bhawan.
"The actual commitment of political parties lies in action, not in words, not in resolutions... We would do a great job if we try to revive the Women's Reservation Bill," the President said at the conference on Saturday, also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari and other top leaders.
The legislation was cleared by the Rajya Sabha more than six years ago, but is still pending in the Lok Sabha.
"The task of nation building is an arduous exercise and a complex process. It involves men as well as women. Several studies show that women's political participation results in tangible gains for democratic governance...," said the vice president addressing over 300 women legislator from across the country.
The women bill has the support of the BJP, Congress and the Left parties but has been heavily opposed by Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal.
Ranjeet Ranjan, Congress MP from Bihar said, "Personally I'm against (women) reservation, especially if it is only going to mean that the creamy layer benefits. But for those sections that have been historically disadvantaged... I back reservation for them."
"It is important not just to give women reservation while contesting but to ensure they are part of decision making bodies within the hierarchies of political parties," said TRS MP, Kavitha.
Statistically speaking, India stands at the 109th place among 193 countries when it comes to women's representation with just 12 per cent women in Parliament. The global average for women in national parliaments is 22.7 per cent. Just nine per cent women were given tickets to contest from the six national political parties.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said, "I support 33 per cent reservations, but it should be up to the political parties to decide who should contest and it shouldn't be decided by reserving constituencies."