Shakti, a non-partisan inclusive collective of women who have joined hands across region, caste, creed, and ideology to enable more women in politics to become MPs and MLAs, has garnered the support of over 270 organisations and eminent persons for the Women’s Reservation Bill to be tabled in the first session of the Parliament.
In a letter to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, those supporting the Bill have come together to urge the Law Ministry to draft a proposal or revise the old draft of Women's Reservation Bill, and place it in Parliament during this inaugural session for debate.
“As you know, the ruling BJP, your own party has promised it: manifesto, page 32, item 14. Reservation for Women: Women's welfare and development will be accorded high priority at all levels within the government and the BJP is committed to 33% reservation in Parliament and State Assemblies through a constitutional amendment," the letter points out.
The letter also mentions Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s iteration for a “women-led India” as well as the same promise for the Women’s Reservation Bill made by several other parties in the opposition during the recently held 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“As a veteran Parliamentarian, you are well aware that this is not the first time any party is promising this, although it remains undelivered. You will agree that the women of this country have shown enormous patience, and that our demand is fair. As one of the most powerful Ministers, you can change the fate of democracy in India, particularly the fate of half of India - its women. This election has seen more women voters than ever before, equalling the percentages of the male voters, and awarding your party a clear majority. We ask the newly elected government to represent this mandate by giving women a greater voice. While there have been multiple false starts on this bill, you can make history by seeing it through successfully,” the letter urges Prasad.
“[The letter] also reminds him that 33% reservation for women in Parliament and State Assemblies is an explicit and recurrent promise in the BJP manifesto for the last 3 elections. A solemn promise in their manifesto is of a "Constitutional Amendment" towards this”,” Shakti said in a press statement.
The letter has been endorsed by several eminent persons including Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian in space, Cyrus Guzder, one of India's top industrialists, Madhumitha Gomathinayagam, India's first transgender person in HR, Tara Krishnaswamy, Shakti co-founder, Surabhi Hodigere, CEO Poilitical Quotient and author at Swarajya Magazine, Shamina Shafiq, former member of the National Commission for Women, Nisha Agarwal, ex-CEO of Oxfam, Dr NK Goyal, India's telecom father figure, and Dr Nisha Agrawal, formerly development economist for World Bank in East Asia, to name a few.
Many organisations from the south have also lent support to the letter. These include Centre for Rural Studies and Development – CRSD, Chittoor People's Action Committee, Pay Back To Society Voluntary Association from Andhra Pradesh; Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC), Child Rights Trust, Atta Galatta, Stree Jagruti Samiti, Women's Web, Vimochana, Enfold Proactive Health Trust from Karnataka; Human Wellness Study Centre, Rashtreeya Kisan Maha Sangh, Centre for Faith & Democracy, Mudhra Charitable Society for Sexual & Gender Minorities, PUCL, Human Rights Law Network from Kerala; Lakeer, Mari, Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan from Telangana; Dalit Intellectual Collective, Ekta Resource Centre for Women and Voice of People from Tamil Nadu.
You can read the letter and add your endorsement here: bit.ly/needwrb