New Delhi, Sep 19 (EFE).- The Indian government introduced a bill on Tuesday to reserve at least 33 percent of legislative seats to women, a proposal that has failed four other times in the Asian country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened the parliamentary session with the proposal, which has been stalled for years, and hopes that this time it will receive the approval of opposition parties.
While major opposition groups welcomed this step, which in order for it to become law requires the approval of both houses of the parliament, they called for attention to its finer details, which could delay its passage.
The general secretary of the opposition Congress Party (INC), Jairam Ramesh, revealed on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that the proposal will not be able to enter into force until a 10-year census is carried out.
The census was scheduled for 2021 but was postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This could delay the entry into force of this measure for years, prompting the INC to claim that Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tabled the bill with the aim of winning popular support for the upcoming general elections next year.
The women’s reservation bill was first introduced in Parliament in 1996 and then again in 1998 and 1999. It was defeated each time it was tabled in the legislature.
In 2008, when the INC brought back the same bill before the parliament, it even received the support of the Upper House, but failed to pass the Lower House.
The lower house, or the Lok Sabha, is far from reaching gender parity, with only 82 of its 543 members (15 percent) being women.
In Rajya Sabha, or the upper house, women make up just 14 percent of its strength, according to government data. EFE