Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

Time for a Census, come what may


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Delimitation Commission

Mains level: Impact of delayed 2021 Census

Why in the news?

Why has the 2021 Census been delayed for so long? One plausible explanation is that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is postponing the Census to expedite the “delimitation” process in preparation for the 2029 Lok Sabha elections.

The 84th Amendment of the Constitution

  • Delimitation Based on Census: The 84th Amendment specifies that the next delimitation exercise must be based on the first census conducted after 2026.
  • Timing for Delimitation: If the next census occurs before 2026, delimitation would be delayed until after the subsequent census in the 2030s.
  • Impact on State Representation: Delimitation aims to adjust the shares of different states in Lok Sabha seats to match their population shares, and ensure similar population sizes across constituencies.
  • Shift in Seat Balance: The upcoming delimitation is expected to favour northern states with faster population growth since 1973, potentially at the expense of southern states.

About the 106th Amendment

  • Women’s Reservation: Passed in September 2023, this amendment provides for one-third reservation of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.
  • Implementation: The reservation is to come into effect “after an exercise of delimitation is undertaken for this purpose after the relevant figures for the first census taken after [2023] have been published.”
  • Separate Delimitation for Women: The phrase “for this purpose” suggests that women’s reservation could be implemented through its own delimitation exercise, separate from the broader delimitation mandated by the 84th Amendment.
  • Interpretation: This allows for the possibility of initiating women’s reservation based on an early census, without waiting for the larger delimitation exercise.

Overall Implications

Impact on the Southern States:

  • Seat Redistribution: Delimitation is expected to shift more Lok Sabha seats to northern states with higher population growth, potentially reducing the representation of southern states.
  • Political Backlash: Southern states may react negatively to losing representation, which could lead to increased regional tensions and opposition to the BJP in these areas.

Women’s Reservation:

  • Implementation Delay: Postponing the census could delay the implementation of the 106th amendment, which mandates one-third reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.
  • Separate Delimitation: There is a possibility of initiating women’s reservation through a separate delimitation exercise, independent of the broader delimitation mandated by the 84th Amendment.

Welfare and Entitlements:

  • Updated Data Needs: Census data are crucial for implementing welfare schemes and ensuring that resources are allocated based on the most recent population figures.
  • Impact on Beneficiaries: Delaying the census deprives millions of people of updated entitlements, such as food rations under the National Food Security Act, affecting their access to essential services.

Way forward: 

  • Timely Census Completion: Ensure the 2021 Census is conducted promptly to provide accurate data for welfare schemes and fair resource allocation, benefiting millions of citizens who rely on updated population figures for essential services.
  • Separate Delimitation for Women’s Reservation: Implement women’s reservation through a separate delimitation exercise as allowed by the 106th Amendment, enabling the reservation to take effect without waiting for the broader delimitation mandated by the 84th Amendment.

Mains PYQ:

Q Empowering women is the key to controlling the population growth.” Discuss. (UPSC IAS/2019)

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