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Women Reservation Bill needs careful consideration on the basis of consensus: Maneka Gandhi

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New Delhi: Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi stressed the need for building consensus among all political parties on Thursday, before the Women Reservation Bill is introduced in Parliament.

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on the issue of 33% reservation for women, she said, “It has been the endeavour of the government to provide for reservation of one-third seats for women in Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies. “The issue involved needs careful consideration on the basis of consensus among all the political parties before a Bill for amendment in the Constitution is brought before Parliament.”

The Women’s Reservation Bill or the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008, seeks to reserve one-third of all seats for women in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. Introduced by the UPA-I government in May 2008, it also provides that one third of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall be reserved for women of those groups.

Rajya Sabha had passed the Bill in March 2010, but could not be cleared by Lok Sabha and then it subsequently lapsed. Similar bills have been introduced thrice before in the late 1990s but lapsed with the dissolution of their respective Lok Sabhas. Janata Dal United, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party have been the main opponents of the Bill.

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