Indian Parliament agrees to a third of lower house seats for women
NEW DELHI - The Indian Parliament has approved an amendment to the law which would allow one third of the seats in the Lower House, as well as in regional parliaments, to be reserved for women, reported German news agency (dpa).
After 11 hours of debate, all 215 members of the Upper House voted in favour of the amendment late on Thursday, according to sources. A majority in the Lower House had already approved the amendment on Wednesday.
However, it is likely to be a long time before the reform actually comes into force - experts are talking about 2029 at the earliest.
The amendment was first proposed in 1996, but was rejected by many conservative lawmakers. Women are currently in a clear minority in the Lower House or Lok Sabha.
Regional parliaments are expected to also approve the amendment.
Before the reform can actually take effect, there will first be a census. Depending on the population size of each state, the seat numbers are to be adjusted.
"A defining moment in our nation's democratic journey!" Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"We usher in an era of stronger representation and empowerment for the women of India. This is not merely (a) legislation; it is a tribute to the countless women who have made our nation. India has been enriched by their resilience and contributions."
The decision could boost women's support for the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP party in regional elections in the coming months, as well as in national elections next year. - BERNAMA-dpa