New Delhi: Amid demands for early passage of the Women's Reservation Bill, Government on Tuesday said in Lok Sabha that it is working towards evolving consensus on it and expressed hope that it would succeed in this at the earliest.
The erstwhile UPA government tried to evolve consensus on the issue for 10 years and the present dispensation is continuing that effort, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said after an impromptu debate on women's empowerment on the occasion of International Women's Day during which the demands for reservation were raised.
"Our government is working towards evolving consensus...Hope we succeed at the earliest," he said about the bill which proposes 33 percent reservation for women in Lok Sabha and Assemblies.
The bill was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010 but got stuck in Lok Sabha due to stiff resistance by a number of parties.
When a member from the opposition camp wanted a concrete assurance, Naidu hit back saying "they (Congress government) could not evolve consensus in 10 years".
He said the Modi government, meanwhile, has initiated a number of schemes for empowerment of women, including 'beti bachao, beti padhao' (save girl child, educate girl child).
Utmost important is education of girl child, the minister said, adding the earlier governments have worked in this direction and the present dispensation is doing it "more effectively".
After education, girls need to be provided with job opportunities, he said, adding that without provision of jobs, the "discrimination" against women will not end.
Another way of ensuring empowerment of women is to ensure that under the 'Housing-for-all' scheme, titles are registered in the name of the woman.
Noting that illegal and anti-social practices like dowry deaths, child marriage and atrocities are still continuing, Naidu pressed for "introspection" by the society and "change of mindset" towards the fair sex.
"We should ponder over these developments. It is not an issue of this party, that party... I do not want to politicise this. If blame is to be taken, all parties should take responsibility proportionate to the time they ruled," he said.
He said it cannot be accepted that practices like female foeticide is part of "culture" in India which is described as "motherland".