In a significant milestone for women’s empowerment in India, President Droupadi Murmu has granted her approval to the long-awaited Women’s Reservation Bill, transforming it into the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam. The enactment of this legislation will usher in a new era of political representation, as it allocates 33% of seats in both the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and state assemblies exclusively for women.
This groundbreaking development occurred during a special session of the Indian Parliament held earlier this month, a session marked by historical significance due to the recent relocation of Parliament’s operations to the new building on September 19. The bill received overwhelming support from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, representing a momentous achievement for India’s political landscape.
However, the bill faced opposition from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM), the sole dissenting voice in Parliament. AIMIM argued that the legislation primarily benefits savarna (upper-caste) women, as it lacks provisions for the reservation of seats specifically for Muslim women representatives. Additionally, the Congress party expressed concerns about the absence of reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) and questioned the extended timeframe for implementation even after its passage in Parliament and subsequent presidential approval.
The implementation of this historic women’s reservation will not be immediate. Instead, it will follow the completion of the upcoming census and delimitation process. This delay is intended to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of reserved seats in accordance with the demographic realities of India.
The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam represents a significant step forward in addressing gender inequality in Indian politics and empowering women to participate actively in decision-making processes at all levels of government. It is expected to have a profound and lasting impact on the country’s political landscape, paving the way for increased representation and inclusivity for women across India.