Congress Manifesto Promises 33 Percent Women's Reservation in Lok Sabha and Central Govt Posts
The clause for 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha was part of Congress's 2009 election manifesto in which it promised to pass the amendment in the 15th Lok Sabha.
Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (File photo)
The Congress on April 3 announced its 2019 election manifesto "Hum Nibhayenge" in the capital and its provisions for women empowerment and gender equality have already become a talking point on social media.
In its promise for the next term, if it wins, the Congress has promised to pass the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to provide for reservation of 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies in the ﬁrst session of the 17th Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha.
The manifesto offered 13 provisions to improve the safety of women and increase gender equality. Apart from 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha, the manifesto has also promised women 33 per cent of appointments to Central Government jobs.
Another highlight was the proposal to institute a separate investigative agency at the central level to investigate on heinous crimes against women and said it would urge state governments to do the same. In the wake of the #MeToo movement in India in late 2018, the party has incorporated a proposal to rework the sexual harassment laws currently at place.
But that's not all. Congress has also looked at women in jobs and has added several points in favour of improving the working conditions of women in the organised sector. It has promised to effectively enforce the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 which could ensure equal pay for men and women.
It also focused on increasing the participation of women in the workforce by stipulating working women's hostels and better transport facilities for women. It also said it will repeal all laws related to prohibiting women working night shifts.
Other promises include providing sanitary napkin vending machines, toilets and night shelters for migrant working women.
Several new programs have been proposed. For instance, the proposal to appoint an "Adhikar Maitri" in every Panchayat who would be in-charge of women's education and empowerment. Or the programme to provide "single, widowed, divorced, abandoned or destitute women a digniﬁed and secure life".
Mounting its attack on the BJP government's 2014 promise of 33 per cent reservation, All India Mahila Congress's Twitter handle uploaded a video featuring its President Sushmita Dev.
Calling the BJP's failure to implement the promised amendment despite winning with a landslide majority a "missed opportunity", Dev said that the Congress promises to implement the Lok Sabha reservation immediately. "We want to see more women in the Parliament, we want to see more women in the Assembly," Dev said.
With an increase in women voters, parties have now started focusing on women and Congress's detailed proposals for the financial and social upliftment of women as well as their safety could mean that the party is taking women as serious stakeholders in this election. In 2014, the BJP's manifesto had also focused heavily on women's empowerment.
However, it is to be noted that passing the 33 per cent reservation for women in Lok Sabha was part of INC's 2009 election manifesto in which it promised to pass the amendment in the 15th Lok Sabha. It failed to do so, despite UPA securing a victory.
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