Women's Reservation: The big debate in Rajya Sabha was over the timeline of implementation.
The women's reservation bill sailed through the Upper House this evening, scripting history after decades of roadblocks. It now needs the signature of the President to make 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies official.
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The bill received unanimous support from the Rajya Sabha. There were no abstentions and no negative votes. The bill had cleared the Lok Sabha yesterday with the support of 454 MPs. Only Two MPs voted against it.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, present in the Upper House for the voting and passing of the bill, said, "The debates were very successful. In the future as well, this debate will help us all. Thank everyone for their support to the bill. The spirit will give birth to new self-esteem among Indians".
As in the Lok Sabha, the big debate in Rajya Sabha today was over the timeline of implementation, which can take place only after census and delimitation that pushes it back by at least six years. The INDIA bloc is in favour of immediate implementation.
"Amendment of this bill is not difficult... you (the government) can do this now but have postponed it till 2031. What does this mean?" said Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge.
Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien alleged that the BJP is not serious about empowering women. "You could not find one woman in 16 NDA states for Chief Minister." He said at the Rajya Sabha debate.
Former Union minister Kapil Sibal said, "We don't know who will come to power, but they must make a statement that if they don't complete the process by 2029, they will resign as prime minister and home minister".
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in an intervention during the debate, said the Centre convened the special session to give a good start to the new parliament building through the historic bill. The BJP does not play politics in matters related to women, she added.
The government insists that the Census and delimitation are meant to ensure exactitude and transparency. "Delimitation Commission is an important body for poll process in the country. If we are reserving one-third seats... who will do it? If we do it, you (the Opposition) will question it," Union Minister Amit Shah had told the Lok Sabha yesterday.
BJP chief JP Nadda slammed the Congress today during the debate for demanding OBC quota within the reservation for women lawmakers, saying it was the BJP-led NDA that gave the country its first OBC prime minister.
Once implemented, the number of women members in the Lok Sabha will increase from the current 82 to 181. Besides, 33 per cent seats will be reserved for women in the state assemblies also.