New Delhi, September 18
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today okayed the Women’s Reservation Bill that provides for 33 per cent quota to women in the Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies, sources said.
Welcome decision, but why the secrecy?
We welcome decision and await the details. This could’ve been discussed at the all-party meet instead of operating under a veil of secrecy.
— Jairam Ramesh, cong gen secy
The government, however, did not make an announcement regarding it as the customary briefing after the Cabinet meeting was not held. The Cabinet meeting had evinced political interest as Modi had stated today that “historic decisions” would be taken in the special session of Parliament from September 18 to 22.
Earlier in the day, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi met Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda, making it clear that something “path-breaking” was expected.
The Women’s Reservation Bill was first tabled in 2008 and has been on freeze since it was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010. It was not presented in the Lok Sabha in these 13 years. A Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha does not lapse under rules of the business of Parliament. The BJP and the Congress have always supported the Bill, but there were hurdles in the form of opposition by other parties and demand for quota for Backward Classes within the women’s quota. Ahead of the Parliament session, leaders from the Opposition had pushed for the Women’s Reservation Bill. The parties had made a strong push for it at an all-party meeting held on Sunday.
Since the announcement of the special session of Parliament, opposition parties, political observers and citizens were wondering whether the government was planning some big decisions.
It was being felt that the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) or “one nation, one election” could be on the agenda. The buzz around the use of “Bharat” in the President’s dinner invite to G20 delegates had sparked talk about the government planning to bring a resolution to change the name of the country.
The government has already listed crucial Bills to be discussed during the special session of Parliament. These include the contentious Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023. The other listed business for the Lok Sabha includes
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