Women Reservation Bill: When the United Nations Complemented Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: The Union Cabinet has cleared the Women Reservation Bill that seeks to reserve 33 percent of the total number of seats in State Legislative Assemblies and the Parliament for women. Indeed it is a historic decision, but when we go through the history and it becoming a reality, the efforts of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik remain fundamental as he was the one who practically implemented it through the Biju Janata Dal. He not only propagated for Women Reservation throughput the country but put into action through BJD. His continuous efforts for this at the national level had an impact on the fructification of this demand. Thanks to him that we will get to see the Indian Parliament will soon pass this much needed and awaited reservation.

In 2018, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik moved a resolution in the Odisha Assembly seeking 33 percent reservation for women in legislative assemblies and Parliament. In his statement Naveen said “I initiate the discussion on this historic motion for providing 33 per cent reservation for women in legislative assemblies and the Parliament.” In the 2019 General Elections, Biju Janata Dal made it practical by giving tickets to 33 percent women candidates. All the initiatives of Naveen Patnaik have been instrumental in making it a reality that the Bill is going to be passed.

While the nation believed Naveen’s philosophy of women empowerment through political intervention, the world also commended him. The United Nations complimented Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his initiative of 33 percent reservation for women in Parliament and the state Assemblies. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women commended him wholeheartedly.

In its statement by Deputy Country Representative of UN Women Nishtha Satyam, the UN Women said “We are pleased that the Government of Odisha has showcased leadership by proposing 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and the Assemblies.”

It also said, while the country awaits the passage of the Constitution Amendment Bill for the purpose before Parliament, such commitment from the states is likely to renew dialogue on the issue at the national level.

“We commend your thought leadership and support on the fact that the economic and social progress can be sustained, only if half of the population have a role in the highest decision-making bodies of the states and the country,” said the letter by UN Women. It said that real, transformative and irreversible progress can only be achieved if women are equal partners in decision-making. The UN body has expressed its desire to continue the partnership with the state government in various sectors including women empowerment.

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