Women’s empowerment and electoral reforms: Modi’s historic stance and vision


The recent passage of the women’s reservation bill has shed light on the consistent efforts of PM Narendra Modi towards greater representation of women in policy-making. Rewinding two decades back, as the General Secretary of the BJP, Modi has been an ardent supporter of women’s empowerment and electoral reforms.
In the year 2000, while the women’s reservation bill was still debated in committees, Modi’s support was unwavering. He had strongly favoured an interim agreement with all recognized parties on a minimum reservation for women, awaiting the joint parliamentary committee’s findings. Modi’s vision finally saw the light of day 23 years later, with the bill’s passage in both houses of Parliament by near-unanimous voting.
Expressing his views way back in Chandigarh, Modi emphasised the need for political parties to come together and set a minimum number of women candidates for Lok Sabha and state legislatures. He also endorsed the idea, then proposed by Chief Election Commission (CEC) MS Gill, of derecognizing parties that did not adhere to this norm.
Modi has also been a vocal advocate of electoral reforms. Emphasising the importance of transparency, he endorsed the recommendations of the Indrajit Gupta Committee report on electoral reforms, which highlighted state funding of elections and the use of electronic voting machines. He called for the recommendations to be accepted in totality as they could form the foundation of future discussions on electoral reforms.
Furthermore, he voiced his concerns about Rajya Sabha elections, advocating for open voting akin to Lok Sabha Speaker elections. Modi had then pointed out the unnecessary stipulation of having a candidate’s name on the electoral rolls for Rajya Sabha elections, asserting that it was sufficient if the name appeared on any electoral roll in the country.
Addressing a Rozgar Mela, PM Modi spoke about the significance of technology in governance, emphasising its role in reducing corruption and complexities. He urged the newly inducted government employees to prioritise citizens and deploy technology for improved governance.
Modi’s dedication to empowering the nation’s 50% population was clear as he cited the women’s reservation bill as a monumental achievement. He emphasised that the issue, which had lingered for 30 years, finally achieved resolution under his leadership.
Union Minister Som Parkash, supporting Modi, lauded the PM’s strong will that paved the way for the bill’s passage. The bill, termed as Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, now awaits the approval of a majority of state assemblies.
However, the Congress termed this move as a “jumla,” questioning its implementation for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Parkash retorted, underscoring the historic significance of the bill and criticised Congress for its inability to pass the bill during its tenure.
On the employment front, Modi’s government continues its efforts, with 51,000 jobs being provided across central government departments during the Rozgar Mela. The commitment to address unemployment is also evident with initiatives like Startup India and Make in India. In conclusion, the journey from the early 2000s to 2023 highlights PM Modi’s unwavering commitment to women’s empowerment and electoral reforms, charting a course towards a more inclusive and progressive India.