Editorial 1: Legislating change


  • The Women’s Reservation Bill must be implemented without delay.

The Women’s Reservation Bill

  • The passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha almost three decades after it was first tabled in Parliament is a welcome move that can finally shatter a political glass ceiling.
  • With women Members of Parliament comprising only about 15% of the strength of the Lok Sabha, the gender inequality in political representation is stark and disturbing.
  • The 128th Constitution Amendment Bill, or the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, seeks to amend this by reserving a third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and legislative Assemblies for women.
  • It has a 15-year sunset clause for the quota, that can be extended.
  •  Considering the fraught history of the struggle for women’s reservation, and several false starts despite the Rajya Sabha passing it in 2010, it is laudatory that the first Bill to be introduced in the new Sansad Bhavan has been passed in the Lok Sabha.
  • But its implementation will be delayed as it has been tied to two factors, delimitation and the Census, and therein lies the rub.
  •  It is unfortunate that implementation is being linked to delimitation, for the principle of having a third of seats reserved for women has nothing to do with the territorial limits of constituencies or the number of Assembly or Lok Sabha constituencies in each State.
  • Women will thus not have access to 33% reservation in the 2024 general election.
  • The Bill also mandates that as nearly as one-third of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be set aside for women.
  • The Opposition is demanding an internal quota for women of Other Backward Classes, but this should not be used as a ruse to delay implementation.
  •  In the meantime, proposals should be fine tuned to ensure that when it becomes an Act, it is not mere tokenism for women’s political representation.
  • It is a fact that local bodies are better represented, with the share of women in panchayati raj institutions well above 50% in several States.


  • Lessons must be imbibed on how women at the grassroots level have broken all sorts of barriers, from patriarchal mindsets at home to not being taken seriously in their official duties, and made a difference.
  • Women struggle on so many other counts: they have uneven access to health, nutrition and education, there is a lack of safe places, women are also falling out of the workforce.
  • Among the G-20 countries, India’s female labour force participation is the lowest at 24%.


  • India, which gave women voting rights at the very outset, should not falter when it comes to ensuring better political representation for women. For growth, and instituting change in key areas, women need to have their say.

Editorial 2: Keep calm


  • Enormity of climate change is no excuse to resort to risky mitigation strategies.


  • India had its rain-wise driest August in a century this year.
  • While scientists are yet to link this anomaly with the chaotic effects of climate change, it underscores the constant threat of disrupted weather, the resulting consequences for the economy, and the importance of climate mitigation.
  • One of the more desperate, and dangerous, ideas to have emerged from this impetus is solar radiation management (SRM)


  • It is to block some of the incoming solar radiation to cool the earth’s surface.
  • SRM’s dangers emerge from the fact that it interferes with natural mechanisms with unavoidable planet-wide effects.
  • For example, if an SRM experiment by one country leads to more rain over the Horn of Africa than expected, it could trigger a locust swarm that eventually destroys crops in Pakistan and India.
  • There is currently no mechanism that holds a geoengineering government accountable to consequences beyond its borders nor through which affected countries can appeal for restitution.
  • There has also been little research on understanding how the world’s myriad weather systems affect each other and their relative sensitivities to interventions such as SRM.

The issues

  • This is why the report of the Climate Overshoot Commission, released last week, calls for more research to close crucial scientific and governance gaps before any deliberations on the implementation of SRM-like technologies.
  •  The commission was constituted by geoengineering researchers to assess ways to accelerate emission cuts.
  • But while the report is careful to acknowledge that the scientific community does not understand SRM enough to attempt a deployment, even in experimental fashion, it also argues for retaining SRM in the mix of potential climate mitigation solutions.
  • This is buttressed by appeals to lack of time as the earth’s surface is poised to warm past the 1.5°C threshold enshrined in the Paris Agreement in the next decade.
  • This is a precarious suggestion because even less controversial, but nonetheless problematic, mitigation technologies such as carbon capture take resources, focus, and political will away from the most effective strategy — cutting emissions — and increase emissions limits.
  • SRM will only amplify this dilution. The commission also errs by claiming to act for the interests of developing countries at a time when corporate and political actors have hijacked their ‘room to develop’ to pursue economic growth at the expense of climate justice.

Way forward

  • The enormity of climate change requires quick and decisive action, but when better solutions have not been implemented as well as they can be, and while there is still time to do so, it is disingenuous to contend that more high-risk solutions should remain on the table.