NC legislator Shehnaz Ganai sought reservation for women in professional courses, public services
The National Conference and the Congress — both purported proponents of women’s empowerment — on Friday joined hands to defeat a resolution that NC legislator Shehnaz Ganai moved in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council seeking reservation for women in all professional courses and public services.
Ms. Ganai’s own party colleague and Minister for Planning Ajay Sadhotra opposed the resolution and asked her to withdraw it after an assurance was given to her by the government. She, however, pressed for the resolution, which was put to vote. Deputy Chairman Javed Rana declared the resolution as failed, though many of the members said ‘yes’ in the voice vote.
“Government’s intentions were exposed today in the Legislative Council,” said Ms. Ganai, the NC’s only MLC in the 34-member Upper House. She claimed that a majority of the members favoured her resolution.
Ms. Ganai had sought 50 per cent reservation for women in all professional and technical courses, and subsequently in government services, on the pattern of reservation adopted for MBBS and BDS courses during Farooq Abdullah’s government in 1996-2002.
She gave the credit for the historic initiative to Dr. Abdullah and pointed out that that the women’s ratio in the Health Department now stood at 69 per cent.
Ms. Ganai claimed there were only 12 per cent women in senior scale in the Kashmir Administrative Service and a paltry 3 per cent in the Kashmir Police Service.
“Reservation is a must in all professional and technical courses as well as jobs if the women are to be empowered,” she said. Ms. Ganai asserted that women were “equally unrepresented” in the legislature, the judiciary and the executive.
“Among 800 MLAs since 1947, only 12 have been women. Only six have been Ministers compared to 300 men in the last 63 years,” she pointed out.