1. So far, India has seen 14 Lok sabhas since the first house was formed in 1952 – the percentage of women in parliament has not surpassed 10% in all these years.
2. 13th & 14th (the past 2) lok sabhas had maximum women representation 45 out of 543 i.e. 9.02% (still not touching a two digit figure)
3. As per the bill: Reservation in Lok Sabha - 181 out of 543; Reservation in state assemblies - 1370/4109.
One most prominent comment was that “India will become a nation of reservation. The worthy no longer will stand a chance. Nation stands to lose worthy leaders”. My question is with so many years without reservation, how many worthy leaders have we elected to the parliament? If such is the case, can it not be argued that because of a male chauvinistic (I didn’t want to use this word – but again there is no other apt word here) society which will not elect a ‘worthy’ woman against a man, we have lost far more worthy parliamentarians. I feel that with this reservation, we can be confident of having at least 33% of worthy leaders in the house.
Another poor outlook on the bill was that, this bill would only help the elite & rich group and would only lead to more “discrimination and under-representation” of poor & backward classes. I think these comments are from people who have read/listened to the “Quota within Quota” arguments of few opposition leaders. My question here is why do people see this any different than what is already existing? Can the same not be said for the existing system where there is no reservation for poor or OBCs. The only reservation present is the 20% reservation for SC/ST which holds good in the reservation for women too. If there was no need for such quota when men were allowed to contest for all 543 seats, I don’t see the need why this quota must be there for the mere 181 seats that (hopefully) will be reserved for women. I just see this as a cheap tactic by oppositions to dilute the intensity and to drag the bill from being passed for as long as possible.
But when I was reading about this I also saw an interesting bit of information in Times of India. The average age of the members in our Lok Sabha has never been less than 46!!!! The youngest house was Nehru's one with an average age of 46.5 and the pitiable fact is that, for the outgoing Lok Sabha the average age is 52.6. It might be of interest to note that Obama is 47 & Blair is 44 and our prime ministerial candidates are Shri Advani (81) and Mr. Manmohan(76). I guess we have to target a reservation for young Indians next!! :P
Don’t you feel its time that we see young and energetic women in the house? Let us join in wishing the Indian women all success in the political front too. இனி ஒரு யுகம் செய்வோம்!
P.S: Ouch! Too many numbers here :) . Please bear with this last bit of statistic. For all this crying out loud, with women constituting nearly 52% of the Indian population, a question that still lingers in my mind. Is 33% a fair share?