Weaving social security schemes around girl child makes a significant outreach to women who make an important political constituency but still getting 33 per cent reservation in Parliament is a far cry. Few years back Prime Minister Modi was all praise for a Haryana Sarpanch who initiated #Selfie with Daughter, to encourage ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’. With the falling sex ratio women empowerment has been the source of concern among planners. At the Panchayat level, one-third seats were reserved for women by making an amendment (73rd) in the Constitution. Later on, a separate clause was added reserving one- third of seats for the SC and ST women within the SC and ST quotas. This means that if there are 100 seats in a local body, of which 23 seats are reserved for the SCs/STs, then 7 or 8 of these (23) seats would be reserved for SC/ST women. The blending of social messeging served a useful supplement to straight forward advertising campaigns which fails to elicit public response especially against sex test ban. The 33 seats reserved for women would be adjusted to include the 7 SC/ST women seats so that the general category of women reserved seats would come down from 33 to 26. Some states (like Uttar Pradesh) have reserved seats for OBC women at the Panchayat level. This means that out of 33 seats for women, 7 will be for SCs/STs, 9 will be for OBC and 17 will be for general women. Before the Bill on 33 per cent reservation of seats for women in the Lok Sabha was introduced in December 1998, it had been prevented from being introduced on three different occasions: once, during Prime Minister Deve Gowda’s time (1996), again during Prime Minister Gujral’s time (1997), and once again, during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time (1998). At one stage (during Inder Kumar Gujral’s regime), the Bill was submitted to Gita Mukherjee Committee which in its report, submitted in November 1996, recommended one-third reservation for women. Will the current session of the Parliament see the much delayed 33 per cent reservation for women?
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