President Patil hopes Women's Reservation Bill will be considered by Lok Sabha

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New Delhi, Feb 21 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil today expressed hope that the Women's Reservation Bill, passed by Rajya Sabha, would be considered by the Lok Sabha at the earliest.

"My government had introduced a constitutional amendment bill to provide reservation for women in Parliament and State legislatures. This has been passed by the Rajya Sabha and I hope sincerely that it will be considered by the Lok Sabha at the earliest," President Patil said in her joint address to both houses of Parliament.

Emphasising that the protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at workplace bill has also been introduced in Parliament, President Patil said: " My Government also proposes to introduce a bill regarding protection of children from sexual offences.

To address the needs of the old and the needy, president Patil said: "an old-age pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector - Swavalamban - has been launched by the government.

Expressing hope that all parties across the political spectrum would support the need for electoral reforms, she said a national conference on electoral reforms would be held in April this year in a bid to evolve a consensus on an acceptable agenda of reforms.

"The subject of electoral reforms has been debated over the years. I am sure that all parties across the political spectrum support the need for bringing about such reforms," she added.

She said it is expected that this process of consultation would lead to a consensus on an acceptable agenda of reforms.

Emphasising that our citizens deserve good governance, President Patil said: "My government stands committed to improving the quality of governance and enhancing transparency, probity and integrity in public life.

"A Group of Ministers (GoM) is considering all measures, including legislative and administrative, to tackle corruption and improve transparency," she added.

She further said that the GoM will consider issues relating to the formulation of a public procurement policy, review and abolition of discretionary powers enjoyed by Ministers, fast tracking of cases against public servants charged with corruption, and amendments to the relevant laws to facilitate quicker action against public servants.

"It will also consider issues relating to the state funding of elections. A bill to give protection to whistleblowers has been introduced in Parliament. My government has also decided to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption," she added. (ANI)

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