In a significant development, the Women's Reservation Bill, set to be introduced in Parliament, has garnered Prime Minister Narendra Modi's description as an "agni pareeksha" or trial by fire for MPs, according to senior government officials. The bill aims to provide 33% reservation for women in both the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.
Furthermore, it is expected to include a provision reserving one-third of women's seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), a point of contention that had hindered its passage through Parliament after being cleared by the Rajya Sabha in 2010. The bill is anticipated to be fully implemented by 2027, following the completion of the Census and delimitation exercises.
This legislative initiative, seeking to reserve 33% of seats for women, traces back to its initial proposal by the Deve Gowda government in 1996. Subsequently, the UPA government reintroduced the bill, officially known as the Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, in 2008. Although it was successfully passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, it was never introduced in the 15th Lok Sabha and lapsed upon its dissolution in 2014, mainly due to opposition from certain parties that demanded a sub-quota for Dalits, backward, and extremely backward communities within the bill.