I have some difficulty understanding the numbers from the various news reports from India about the Women's Reservation Bill.
Radhika Ramaseshan in 'The Telegraph' Quota queries: Everything you wanted to know about the bill:
"Will the sub-quota seats for SC/ST women come into being over and above the current 22 per cent SC/ST quota that is open to both genders?
Yes. This means, of course, that nearly 30 per cent of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats will now practically be reserved for the SC/STs.
So what will be the total quota volume after the women’s bill is passed?
Fifty five per cent — 33 per cent for women plus the existing 22 per cent for SC/STs."
Smita Gupta in 'The Outlook' Now, The Better Third:
Devil's Advocate: Moily on Women's quota says "As for SC/ST women, they will get a third of the seats reserved for SC/STs—from their current 16 in the present Lok Sabha, SC/ST women will be guaranteed at least 42 seats once the bill comes into force. The reason why the RJD, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party are still demanding a sub-quota for SC/ST women is simple, and no different from that which prevails in any other party—they do not want to share the current SC/ST quota with the women of these communities.....
Total Lok Sabha seats 545*
Seats reserved for SCs/STs: 122
Seats to be reserved for women: 181
Unreserved: 240 "
"Karan Thapar: Look then, minister, at the problems that are occurring. To begin with, the 33 percent legislation that you are legislating come on top of 22.5 [percent] for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and although there is a small overlap between the two, you are still going to end up with 48.5 percent seats in the Lok Sabha reserved one way or the another. In a democracy, is such a high level of reservation of Lok Sabha seats acceptable?
Veerappa Moily: No, you are talking on a flat consideration. Women reservations cut across Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.--
Karan Thapar: --I have taken that into account--
Veerappa Moily: --No. That can't be done.--
Karan Thapar: --I have taken into account that one cuts across the other to end up with 48.5 percent seats reserved.
Veerappa Moily: This will not be an offensive that it cuts across caste, community, creed, anything.
Karan Thapar: I'll tell you why it would be offensive. If you look specifically at the case of non-Scheduled Caste and non-Scheduled Tribe men, which is 78 percent of the male population, they can only now contest for 51.5 percent of the seats. From their point of view, it is grossly unfair."
Assuming that two out of three are correct about one third of the seats in SC/ST quota go to women and the figure of 48.5 perecent in the interview is (approximately) correct, one third of the rest of the 77.5 percent seats are reserved for women and so about 51.5 percent are open seats which everybody can contest. This contradicts the number 240 of unreserved seats given by Smita Gupta. Then Karan Thapar says that 78 perecent of the male population can contest only 51.5 percent of the seats forgetting that 78 percent of the male population is only about 39 perecent of the total population.
May be, correct numbers will emerge.