The Indian government has introduced a landmark bill that guarantees one-third of seats for women in the lower house of parliament and state assemblies. This contentious bill, originally proposed in 1996, has been pending for decades due to opposition from certain political parties.
Reviving this legislation is expected to benefit the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming general elections in May. However, it is essential to note that the bill is still a considerable distance away from becoming law.
To become law, the bill requires approval from both houses of parliament, a majority of state legislatures, and the signature of the Indian president.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his support for the proposed legislation during his opening speech at the new parliament building’s inaugural session. He emphasized the significance of this step towards promoting women’s leadership and development.
PM Modi also criticized opposition parties, noting that the Congress party-led governments had failed to pass the bill when they were in power.
The new Indian parliament building, inaugurated by PM Modi in May, has begun its official business with a five-day special session that commenced on Monday. The proceedings are being held amid criticism from opposition leaders who claim that the government has not fully disclosed the week’s agenda.
The new parliament building is part of the government’s ambitious Central Vista project in Delhi, aiming to replace colonial-era government buildings. The state-of-the-art four-story building, constructed at a cost of 9.7 billion rupees, has the capacity to seat 1,272 MPs. The Lok Sabha chamber, housing the lower house of parliament, is designed like a peacock, India’s national bird, while the Rajya Sabha chamber, hosting the upper house, resembles a lotus, India’s national flower and the symbol of PM Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
The current parliament building will undergo conversion into a museum as part of this ambitious architectural project.