Sundeep Bhutoria

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women’s Reservation Bill – a step forward

At last the Women’s Reservation Bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha. I think it was a strategic novelty on the part of the Government to place the Bill first in the Upper House or Rajya Sabha. Those who understand this know very well why it was so done. Anyway, while welcoming this move I am aware that the Bill still has to be pass through the Lower House or Lok Sabha, approved by 15 of the 28 states and sent for the President’s consent before it becomes a law.
I welcome the Bill with a rider. If we are serious about bringing women into the political mainstream, 20 per cent reservation would have been a more pragmatic approach to begin with and gradually increased to the level currently proposed. This would have spared our country of rubberstamp women nominees of husbands, fathers or sons. But in our country many decisions are driven by vote bank politics and we may see many rubberstamp nominees in the next election if the Bill is passed and implemented.
Whatever has happened is no doubt a step forward. I fully favour equality of women in society and am dead against gender disparities. In a lighter mood, many of my women friends and acquaintances have said that they are just waiting for Bill to be implemented so that they can take their first political step. I have pledged my full support to them in advance. We all know that in our country as of now we don’t have 33 per cent women candidates.
I have more women friends than men and the idea of writing a book on 100 women in my life has often crossed my mind. May be one day I will.
My Delhi stay is coming to an end next week and I have started declining lunch and dinner invitations. Today I had a dinner with Mr Srichand Jaiswal, minister of state (MoS) for coal, at his residence on the Teen Murti Road. He had also invited a common friend - a senior journalist and we enjoyed a simple north Indian Ghar ka khana.
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