Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reservation for women; Are we on the right track?

Finally the women reservation bill was passed by Rajya Sabha. The interesting and ironic fact is - it took 14 years for the bill to reach there. In this marathon journey women reservation bill met with stiff resistance from many parties and groups in and out of parliament. The argument for quota with in the quota, separate quota for SC, ST, OBC, minorities etc stalled the progress of its journey for a long time. It may be marked as success for the women of India. According to the bill 33% of seats will be reserved for women.

But the main question remains. Are we in the right direction? There is no doubt that the problems faced by women have be solved, they should get equal opportunities in governance and in life. After all it’s absolutely wrong to block the legitimate claim of ‘half the population’ to the highest power centers of the nation. But root question is –it this the correct way?

If we are giving 33% reservation to women, along with the already the existing reservations to numerous other groups, the seats available in the general category will come down dramatically. Remember that all the eligible citizens of India can put forward their claim for general category seats (Which also includes the groups which enjoys reservation). Moreover in democracy everyone have the right to participate in elections. Now the opportunity for many people to reach the echelon of power will shrink dramatically.

But surely reservation is not he formula to solve the problems related to gender equality. The sad and ironic thing is that many are asking for reservation with in reservation!!! If seats have to be reserved for every one then what is the need for elections? We can save billions of dollars!!!

How long there quotas will be there? As far as we can see governments didn’t withdrawn any reservation up to now. This one too will be there for a long time. How long we can go in this way? When government will realize that; reservation is not a ready made tablet for everything? Now we have reservation for many things - may be one can fill a complete book by mentioning about the name of reservations available in India.

In present system, in the administrative, law enforcement, politics, medical, education etc saw many highly efficient women, who reached that position by their own efforts, but in the future what will happen? It is sure that many efficient personalities will reach the house; who are otherwise denied the because of the social structures and various prejudices.

May be the introduction of women to the highest echelons of power may encourage many others to come forward and lead a political life, or at least they feel the politicians are more approachable. It is yet to see how far the newly elected women legislators can make progress in the already falling gender ratio, dowry related issues, safety of women in the streets of India, criminalisation and curroption in politics etc.

But certainly this is not the way to do these things. If governments really want to address the issues of public they have to find out genuine solutions. They have to provide a level play ground for everyone - so that each one must get equal opportunity. If one child is lacking books, government has to fund his/her education until they got enough education to secure a job, not giving reservation to him. Of course not free of cost - After getting job he must repay the money with some 2-3% interest back to public exchequer. This money can be used for next generation.

Anyway the bill is passed. To all women of India now you get a ticket to biggest temple of democracy in the world. I wish you may be able to work really well towards the progress and development of our country and the nation. Moreover one more challenge is waiting for you -to change the mindset of common people towards politics. Wish you all the best...


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