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Women's Reservation Bill, Pending For 27 Years, At The Centre Of Special Parliament Session

In a historic move, the Union Cabinet on Monday approved the long-pending women's reservation bill, marking a significant development after nearly 27 years of waiting. The bill, which was cleared in a key Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, could become the first bill to be tabled in the first session of new parliament.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi, during his last speech in the old parliament, raised the issue of women equality and highlighted the achievements of some of the celebrated women lawmakers.
Originally passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, the bill seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in both the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The bill couldn't pass through the Lok Sabha at the time, causing it to lapse.
According to data, 78 of the 543 MPs in the Lok Sabha are women, which account for less than 15 percent of the total strength.
The situation in the Rajya Sabha is slightly better, with women holding about 14 percent of the seats.
However, the representation of women in several state assemblies is less than 10 percent. Some states with low female representation include Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Telangana, Tripura, Puducherry, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, and Himachal Pradesh.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have consistently supported the bill, some regional parties have voiced their opposition, calling for a sub-quota for the backward classes and Scheduled Castes within the proposed women's quota.
In recent weeks, parties like the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) have been advocating for the revival of the bill. Congress, too, passed a resolution supporting the bill during its Hyderabad Congress Working Committee meeting on Sunday.
The journey of this bill has been long and challenging. It was initially introduced in 1996 and referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee chaired by Geeta Mukherjee, which made seven recommendations. Unfortunately, the bill lapsed at the time with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
The bill was reintroduced two years later but failed to gain sufficient support. Subsequently, the NDA government reintroduced the bill in 1999, presenting it twice again in 2002.