Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies, which, he said, would be "the finest tribute to the Father of the Nation on his 150th birth anniversary."
"Mahatma Gandhi always spoke of gender equality and empowerment of women in society. Taking a historic decision (33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and Assemblies) would be the finest tribute to the Father of the Nation on his 150th birth anniversary," Patnaik stated in the letter, a copy of which is with ANI.
Talking about the decisions of his government towards women's empowerment, Patnaik further wrote, "In 2011, Government of Odisha enhanced the reservation for women in Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies to 50 per cent. This decision has empowered the women of Odisha and has encouraged them to join the mainstream of development process."
"I am glad to state that recently the State Legislative Assembly has adopted a unanimous resolution to provide for one-third reservation of women in Parliament as well as the state legislatures," he further added in the letter, attaching a copy of the said resolution passed by the Odisha Assembly on November 20.
Chief Minister Patnaik further stated that that Odisha was "a pioneering state, so far as empowerment of women is concerned." "In the early 1990s, the legendary leader Biju Patnaik, for first time in the country, brought women to the realm of political decision making reservation one-third of all seats in Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies for them. Besides, he had also implemented equal wages for both men and women to ensure gender equality and dignity of labour," he said in the letter.
"Empowerment of women is the empowerment of the nation. No households, no society, no state, no country has ever moved forward without empowering its women. The principle of gender equality is enshrined in our Constitution. The country will move forward with much greater momentum only if the half of our population, our mothers, sisters and daughters have a role in the highest decision making bodies of our states and our country," Chief Minister Patnaik stated in the letter.
"In this context, I would like to request your good self to take the leadership in initiating necessary steps for passing the Bill for reservation of one-third of seats in Parliament and State Legislatures for women. I assure full support of my Government in providing women their rightful place in the decision making bodies of our States and our country," Odisha Chief Minister Patnaik has further stated in the letter.
It is worth mentioning that the Women's Reservation Bill or the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008, has lapsed in the Parliament. The proposed Bill sought to amend the Constitution to reserve 33 per cent of all seats in the Lok Sabha, and in all State Legislative Assemblies for women.
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