Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday made a strong pitch for the women’s reservation bill and urged the Rajya Sabha in the new Parliament to pass the bill unanimously.
Speaking in the Upper House during the special session of Parliament, Modi said, “…Today, a bill has been introduced in the Lok Sabha. After discussion, it will come here also. Today we are taking an important step towards women empowerment…”
The issue of reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state assemblies has been pending for several years.
Law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Constitutional Amendment bill, Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, to reserve one-third of the seats in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women earlier in the day.
Modi also said “Today (September 19, 2023) is a memorable as well as a historic day” as both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha moved to the new Parliament building.
It is not just a new Parliament building, but a symbol of a new beginning, Modi said. The prime minister also stressed that the country needs to meet goals in a time-bound manner as the new generation is restless.
Modi also said his government is committed to ensuring that the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ aimed at expanding women’s participation in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies becomes a law.
In the first speech in the first session in the new Parliament building, Modi said that the bill was given approval in the Cabinet meeting on Monday, and asserted that this will strengthen democracy.
“For many years, there have been several debates and controversies around women’s reservation. On women’s reservation, there have been many efforts earlier also in Parliament. In 1996, the first bill related to this was introduced. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, many times women’s reservation bill was brought but numbers could not be mustered for it and the dream was left unfulfilled,” Modi said.
“For that work of ensuring rights of women and putting their power to use and for many such nobel works, God has chosen me. Once again our government has taken a step in this direction. In the Cabinet yesterday, the Women’s Reservation Bill was given approval. This date of September 19 is going to be etched in history,” the PM said.
“Taking forward women-led development, the government is presenting an important constitutional amendment bill. The aim of the bill is to expand the participation of women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Through the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’, our democracy will be strengthened,” Modi said.
“I congratulate our mothers, sisters and daughters for it. I assure them that we are committed to ensure that this bill becomes a law… I request all members of both Houses, to pass this bill with unanimity,” he said.
As Lok Sabha convened in the new Parliament building for the first time, Prime Minister Modi called on MPs to forget all past bitterness and start a new chapter, asserting that whatever they are going to do in the new complex, should be an inspiration for every citizen of the country.
As Lok Sabha proceedings began in the new building, Modi addressed the House after brief remarks by Speaker Om Birla. The prime minister said the new Parliament building reflects the aspirations of 140 crore Indians.
“When we are starting a new chapter, we should forget all past bitterness,” he said.
“Whatever we are going to do in this new Parliament building, it should be an inspiration to every citizen of the country,” he said. The prime minister also remembered ‘shramjeevis’ (labourers) who were part of the construction of the new Parliament building.
Parliament, he said, is a supreme place to serve the nation. Parliament is not a place to work for growth of a party but for development of the nation, Modi stressed.