Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the purpose of the new women’s reservation bill Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam is to expand women’s participation in Lok Sabha and assemblies, and asserted it will further strengthen Indian democracy, as he urged MPs of both Houses of Parliament to pass the bill unanimously.
In the first speech in the first session in the new Parliament building, Modi underlined the role of politics in the effective transformation of society and said Indian women have immensely contributed in sectors ranging from space to sports and start-ups to self-help groups.
“The Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam will further strengthen our democracy. I congratulate mothers, sisters and daughters of the nation for Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam. I assure all mothers, sisters and daughters of the nation that we are committed to making this bill into a law,” he said, amidst thumping of desks by members of both treasury and opposition benches.
Some opposition parties, including the Congress, have been seeking a law to ensure reservation of seats for women in legislative bodies. The women’s reservation bill was given approval in the Union Cabinet meeting on Monday, said the prime minister, who also recalled how the world embraced the concept of India’s women-led development during the G20.
Observing the growing contribution of women in every sector, Modi stressed on the need for inclusion of more women in policy-making so that their contribution to the nation increases further. He urged members to open the doors of opportunities for women on this historic day.
“Taking forward the resolution of women-led development, our government is today presenting a major constitutional amendment bill. The purpose of this bill is to expand the participation of women in Lok Sabha and assemblies,” he said.
“I request as well as urge all colleagues in this House, as a pious auspicious beginning is being made, if this bill becomes a law with consensus, then its power will magnify manifold. Therefore, I request both the Houses to pass the bill with full consensus,” the prime minister said. Modi said for many years, there have been several debates and controversies around women’s reservation. On women’s reservation, there have been many efforts earlier also in Parliament. In 1996, the first bill related to this was introduced, he added.
During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, many times the women’s reservation bill was brought but numbers could not be mustered for it and the dream was left unfulfilled, Modi said.
“For that work of ensuring rights of women and putting their power to use, and for many such noble works, God has chosen me. Once again our government has taken a step in this direction. In the Cabinet yesterday, the women’s reservation bill was given approval. This date of September 19 is going to be etched in history,” he said.
Noting that there comes a time in the development journey of any nation when history is created, Modi said today’s occasion is India’s moment in its development journey when history is being written.
As the Lok Sabha convened in the new Parliament building for the first time, Prime Minister Modi called on MPs to forget all past bitterness and start a new chapter, asserting that whatever they are going to do in the new complex, should be an inspiration for every citizen of the country.
He said the conduct of the members will decided whether they will sit in the opposition or the treasury benches as proceedings are telecast live.
The prime minister stressed on the need for collective dialogue and action for general welfare as well as unity of goals. “All of us should follow the Lakshaman Rekha of parliamentary traditions”, he said.
The House is not meant for the benefit of any political party, but for the development of the nation, the prime minister saud. “The Parliament is the supreme position to serve the country,” he said.
As Lok Sabha proceedings began in the new building, Modi addressed the House after brief remarks by Speaker Om Birla.
The prime minister said the new Parliament building reflects the aspirations of 140 crore Indians. “When we are starting a new chapter, we should forget all past bitterness,” he said.
Modi said that the grandeur of the new building anoints ‘Amrit Kaal’ and remembered the hard work of ‘Shramiks’ and engineers who kept working on the building even during the Covid pandemic.
He informed that more than 30,000 ‘Sharmiks’ contributed in the construction of the building and mentioned the presence of a digital book carrying the full details of the labourers.
He also extended greetings on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, Samvatsari Parva, a festival of forgiveness, and Michhami Dukkadam, a festival of Jains.
Modi mentioned the presence of the sacred ‘Sengol’, which was installed on the day the building was inaugurated in May, as a link between the old and the new and as a witness to the first light of freedom.
This sacred ‘Sengol’ was touched by the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. “Therefore, the Sengol links us with a very important part of our past,” he said.