Telangana Mahila Congress President Nerella Sharada wrote a letter to the PM of India requesting an appointment to discuss women reservation bill. Since BJP has majority in LokSabha, Sharada wants Modi to take reservation bill further and get it passed. She also wants to discuss the possibility of increasing the number of Loksabha seats. It is better if a MP asks this question in parliament rather than discussing with PM face to face.
In a country where half the population are women, only a mere 12% of the Lok Sabha Members are women. The national average of women MLAs is even worse at 9%. The best among them, Bihar, Rajasthan and Haryana have 14% representation while the worst states are Pondicherry and Nagaland have no women MLAs .
From a development perspective, men and women are very different policy makers. They also have different political preference. Research shows that the gender of the politician hugely influences the policy decisions. A study by MIT and IIM professor found that in rural Rajasthan and West Bengal, women elected as leaders under the reservation policy invest more in the public goods more closely linked to women’s concerns: drinking water and roads in West Bengal and drinking water in Rajasthan.
Using data from Indian villages, another research published by UNICEF have found that villages with reservation of women are less likely to par bribes, children have access to more drinking water and better immunization and female school attendance is greater.
In general women policy makes invest more in public good provisions, child care, maternal care, schooling and public safety compared to men.
The main purpose of reservation is to ensure democratic representation and bring forth issues of a particular group which otherwise is not addressed. A lot of times, the reason for the under-representation of certain groups is not because they are under-qualified or undeserving, it is rather because of inherent bias against a particular caste/gender/sect.
It is likely that there will be some inefficiencies are a result of reservation. Possibility that a 33% reservation may result in some under-qualified women to enter instead of a qualified man. But for now, to ensure overall development of the country from various dimensions, it is important to have the Women’s Reservation Bill.