Rajya Sabha members press for early passage of women's reservation bill
Rajya Sabha members press for early passage of women's reservation bill

Cutting across party lines, Rajya Sabha members today voiced concern over incidents of crime against women and made a strong case for early passage of the bill to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament as well as in state assemblies.

The House, which has been witnessing disruptions in the morning session since Monday, today seemingly spoke in one voice to celebrate the International Women's Day.

As soon as the members assembled to take up today's business, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu made a reference to the International Women's Day, which is observed all over the world to celebrate the achievements of women as well as to renew commitment to empowering them and ending gender biases.

"With women constituting about 50 per cent of our population, social, economic and political empowerment of women, including providing reservation in Parliament and state legislatures, has to be accorded top priority for the country to achieve rapid progress," Naidu said at the outset.

He stressed on the need to renew focus on gender equality and safety of women, besides efforts to educate and empower them.

The women reservation bill has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha and is pending approval of the lower house, the Lok Sabha.

After Naidu's remarks, women MPs from different parties spoke on the issue and pressed for early passage of the reservation bill.

Veteran Congress MP Ambika Soni said a resolution should be passed by the House to support the legislation providing reservation to women in Parliament and state assemblies.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed concern over rising incidents of sexual assault against girl child.

"The government, together with the opposition, should create an atmosphere to ensure the safety of women," he said, and agreed with others on early passage of reservation legislation.

External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj said she was in favour of women reservation bill and continues to support it.

Although women have excelled in many field and entered areas dominated by men, she said, "Women still continue to face injustice, which is shameful".

She called for a mass-movement to change the mindset of people towards women.

Naidu also agreed with the suggestion by some members to have a woman member in the vice-chairman panel.

However, later the members started protesting over issues like banking scam and Cauvery river water. Amid the din, the Chairman adjourned the House which could not take up the Question Hour.