March 11, 2010

FOR MEANINGFUL AND COMPETENT REPRESENTATION IN PARLIAMENT, WOMEN NEED EDUCATION AND EMPOWERMENT, AND NOT RESERVATION!

So, the women’s reservation bill, which was first drafted by H. D. Gowda government in 1996, finally got cleared in the Rajya Sabha on the 8th of March, 2010. Of all the pending bills, this one in particular was the most contentious as most political parties could neither accept nor reject it, owing to vote-bank politics. Finally, amidst some ugly chaos and commotion, the bill got passed on the 8th of March in the Rajya Sabha. As expected, what followed was customary celebration, wherein all media houses projected the passing of the bill as one of the landmark moments in the history of independent India.

No doubt, the celebrations are too early, as the real test is yet to come; and that is when it goes through the Lok Sabha. Going by the precedence set in the Rajya Sabha, things do not look that simple. From the very beginning the Congress, along with the BJP and the Left , have been in support of the bill; whereas most other political parties have been opposing the bill in its current form. But then, it is also important to understand the contents of the bill that’s making so many political parties oppose the same. It is not just the Rashtriya Samajwadi Party (RJD) or the Samjwadi Party (SP) which has been most visible, the parties representing the backward and the oppressed classes have also been opposing the bill in its current form. In fact, the bill proposes to provide reservation to women at all levels of the legislature, starting from the Lok Sabha to the state to the local legislatures. It proposes to reserve one-third of the total number of seats for women in the central, state and local governments. The political parties who have been backing the bill argue that this bill is going to pave way for gender equality, would fight abuse and discrimination and would work for the overall cause of women who have been historically deprived in India. On the face of it, the arguments sound benevolent and profound as there is no doubt in the fact that women in our society have been pushed to the margins on all socioeconomic counts!

Then what is the opposition’s problem? Lalu Prasad Yadav’s contention has been that such blanket reservation would only invite the elite to exploit the reservation – the poor and marginalized would remain unrepresented. According to him, the reservation is justified only when there is a reservation within the reservation for Dalits, backward classes, Muslims and other religious minorities. Similarly, Mulayam Singh’s argument is that as such 22.5% of the seats in the Parliament are booked for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Now, with another 33.3 % reserved for women, more than 50% of the seats would come under the reserved category! It is not fair for the other stakeholders of the economy to have less than 50% representation left for them. As I said earlier, from a logical standpoint, both these arguments have definite merits, and their opposition to the bill in its current form does make adequate sense, though at the same time, their actions in the Rajya Sabha do not make any sense.

As a matter of fact, it is not just about this bill in particular, but I am not in favour of reservation of any kind. As I strongly feel that a reservation necessarily incubates incompetence. It is not that I am against women’s participation in active politics or their engagement in public offices, but I feel that it should be only and only based on merit. If by means of merit, they have been doing so well in other walks of life, why do we need a reservation here? Reservation would not guarantee that able candidates fill the seats up. On the contrary, what we might see post reservation is blatant compromise at all possible levels. There is no guarantee that proxy and incapable candidates would not be put in the Parliament as people’s representatives, wherein the real control would lie somewhere else. And it is nothing new that I am stating. This is something that is prevalent today, even without any reservation. Imagine the scale of such operation post reservation then.

So, if the government wants to get meaningful and competent representation of women in the Parliament, then they should invest in educating and empowering them at the grassroots level. As such, with women comprising of 30%-40% of any class of Arts, Management and Commerce, the day is not far where the woman would find a place for herself in mainstream politics, making the bill completely redundant!

But if the government still wants the bill to pass, then provisions should necessarily be made for Dalits, Muslims and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes as just like women, they have been historically the most marginalized section of the Indian society.

Share/Bookmark

15 comments:

Adi said...

The bill is a good start for introducing an overall participation of women in politics. However, the bill lacks substance and personifies the Congress government's inability and its vote bank politics.

After all, a reservation for the backward classes is necessary else, the elitists will abuse the bill and women with power will have an advantage. (Mayawati is surely smiling)

I just hope the bill has a time phase.

ANKIT AGARWAL said...

I do agree with you sir that reservations will not serve the purpose but the education will, as well as what ever reservations we have for women till now are being exploited by politicians by creating dummy candidates.....
BUT EVEN IF THEY HAVE TO COME UP WITH ANY KIND OF RESERVATION WEATHER FOR WOMEN OR FOR SC,ST, OBCs or creamy lared OBCs these should come with a time limit & with an objective which can be measured at the end of the duration certained for the reservation; and if the objectives are acheived than we will remove all the reservations & if not acheived than it is of no use to continue with the reservation....... BUT THE BASIC STAND SHOULD BE EDUCATING PUBLIC WITH BETTER MEANS RATHER THAN AMPUTING THEIR BODY PARTS AND MAKING THEM HANDICAPPED BY MAKING RESERVATIONS FOR THEM... I HOPE U WILL READ IT & PLEASE WRITE SOME THING ABOUT HOW LONG WE SHOULD CONTINUE WITH ALL THESE RESERVATIONS...
ALL THE BEST
:)

pratik said...

Sir I am totally agree with you.
I think that reservation creates a feeling of my relegion, my region, my cast and I. And this is a very dengerous thing for country so diversified. Today government reserve a particular class and after that some other class come up with the demand of reservation. Giving a particular seat for a particular religion or cast is not the solution we want for equality but the solution is to make them capable to compete and grow which is only possible by educating the people and giving them the right resources to grow...
Thanks for wonderful article.

Jagdeep-Bhunga said...

I don't know why all the women are rejoicing, who even do not have anything to do with this reservation....everyone in the universe can become capable if they are given a chance....but such chances are ridiculous to give them reservation...prepare them and surely they can become capable and come to the parliament

Hasnain said...

Hi All,
As far as this particular bill is concerned i fully support it-firm believer in NARI SHAKTI. At last some thing better has happened for women in this male dominated society. But at the grassroot level i completely agree with Mr Arindham's views that selection should be purely on the basis of merit & not reservation. And that's possible only through disseminating quality education.

Infact, i'm against any kind of reservation. Firstly why the heck do v need reservations. It signies a person's incapability to do something on his/her own.
Reservation for getting admission in elite institutes like IIT/IIM's...Reservation in public sector jobs...Reservation in parliament,etc that's bullshit...why can't we have a clear n simple system where everybody is given a fair chance.
u r doing everything for the rich n poor but then what about the middle class people.I'm not trying to be harsh on d weaker sections of the society but govt should make them self reliant through other means n not by providing reservations.

cheirourgia said...

The intentions of the government though right do not necessarily mean they have chosen the right path. As mentioned, this will definitely lead to the emergence of n number of pseudo power centres (wives representing husbands!!!).

Education is the only answer for the upliftment of all in the society. The day we fill an application form without the customary caste provisions, India will be truly shining... Hope against hope!!.

paul said...

Sir, your view about the bill is absolutely simple and clear, believe me, this is what came to my mind when the bill was passed. It’s good and important, that women should be given equality and they should take part in country’s politics. But they should be capable enough to take up such responsible roles, the most prominent job in the country, being an MP, representative of the people. Of course, you are right; women from all the sections of the society should be educated and empowered before you talk about reservation for women in parliament. But I support the bill, because it would encourage and serve as a platform for women to enter active politics but at the same time, such an important step should be backed by proper initiative from the government to make women competent enough to take such crucial role in the parliament.

But don’t you think, even some times incompetent and uneducated men enter parliament, it is not only about women, but also about the overall human resource development of the country.

www.kerrypaul-paul.blogspot.com

AMLAN said...

It's absolutely a fact that reservation creates room for incompetency. More over these constituencies will be on rotational basis, so two thirds of the MPs will not have accountabilty towards their constituencies as there will be less chance for their being re-elected. Amlan

KroKc said...

Why is the population of India –A country with a strong backbone of spiritual and cultural heritage- super excited about Quota? It is not just concerning the present status of the ‘women reservation bill’, but concerns the overall system of the reservation policy being furiously supported by our people. Do we lack self-respect or it’s just that we have decided to spur our fates to lead our hard work. Whatever it may be, but I am sure about one thing that the people who are demanding reservations in any kind of service and education sector do not possess the pluck to contribute to nation’s development and prosperity.

KroKc said...

Women suffer a thousand discriminations. Foeticide, infanticide and dowry deaths constitute a triple whammy of murder. Girls that survive are discriminated against in food, health, education and choice of livelihood. Not only Adult women suffer physical abuse and rape, but also the innocent damsels. Female workers are paid less than males. Is India proud of being among the countries with highest female foeticide and mortality rate? If reservation bill changes the current face of women sufferings then I sternly support the reservation bill.

Vipul said...

Well said! Reservation is totally abused.

Tathagata said...

Sir,
I am a regular reader of your blogs. In past also you had shown your reluctance against reservation. Logics are simple and well thought of. I therefore will not reiterate the merits and demerits of reservation. I have an entirely different question. Reservation does not exist in private academic institutions. But, if you pay them dearly, they will issue you a certificate. You may not agree with me, but, it’s the real picture indeed for many institutions.
I personally know a guy who cleared his graduation exams marginally. He thereafter paid a hefty amount to some management institute and after two years got an MBA degree from there. The institution is not fool enough to admit him by taking money only. They arranged an entrance exam, the question paper of which was never disclosed to the public. The guy himself said to me that any student who had cleared the tenth standard could pass the entrance exam. He took an education loan and completed his MBA; but is still in search of a good job.
My question is simple. There is no reservation in private institutes, but where is the merit? It is a fact that any Tom, Dick and Harry can obtain a medical, engineering or management degree by paying a sizable amount. Still these private institutes keep on bragging about the fact that they are admiring merit. If merit can be bought by money, we have to definitely give a second thought towards changing our higher education policy.

Lipi said...

I completely agree that reservation of any sort is an abuse to teh society. If we can make our path to the corporate and other sectors we can certainly get into politics as well without such a bill. History has proved that. So I believe that the house instead can conecntrate more on the other issues and amendments which will prevent the wrong elements to enter the house so that we can look forward to a clean politics.- Lipi

Nishant Netaji said...

Reservation for women is a stupid concept....Those who want and those who have the drive to struggle, will get it. it would be nothing less than giving them free tickets to watch avatar and u find them sleeping in the theatre..
-nishantnetaji.blog.com

Aleina said...

Want to learn MLM multi level marketing Network Marketing Expert http://www.tommypanetta.com/

" This blog is managed by The Sunday Indian. We heartily welcome comments on the articles.. However TSI will delete all those comments which are personal in nature and have the usage of unparliamentary language. "