National Alliance of Women and Initiatives: Women In Development, organized
Tamil Nadu Women’s State Assembly

IMG 7801A Three day event to proclaim the political caliber of women in the legislative Bodies

A strong and vibrant democracy is possible only when the legislative bodies are fully inclusive of the population it represents. Now with the reservation seeing the light, with an objective to create an impulse to include women's perspective in policy making and to truly include women in mainstream politics and to balance the deficit in Democracy, National Alliance of Women (NAWO) and Initiatives: Women In Development (IWID) in association with women's organizations, academic institutions, judicial practitioners and individuals conducted a Women’s State Assembly between 22-24th March 2010 at Balamandir German Hall, T.Nagar, Chennai.


IMG 7772Earlier on 22nd March the TamilNadu Women’s State Assembly was inaugurated by President of NAWO, Dr. Ruth Manorama a Right to Livelihood Award Winner (Alternative Nobel Prize). Dr. Pam Raj Put, Professor -Punjab University and Vice president- NAWO commenced the session by administering oath of affirmation to the members. Earlier distinguished Organic scientist Dr. K. Nammalvar graced the occasion by his presence and wished the success of the programme.
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Ruth Manaroma said, “Women and Men must acknowledge that the equal participation of women in parliamentary and legislative process not only benefits society, but is required to legitimize democracies and with the reservation for women seeing its day, there has been a question, “where are the women?”. The women in the Tamil Nadu Women’s Assembly have proven that the Women are here to take up the responsibilities”.
Commenting on the event, Dr. Pam Rajput NAWO said “It gives me immense pleasure to commemorate this historic event - Tamil Nadu Women’s State Assembly. This event truly represents the vibrancy of women in decision making and power and its benefits to the society. With the Women’s Reservation coming up, we strongly believe that this will set an ideal example of proving the capability of women reining the country.”
Dr. Neelavalli, Director, Initiatives: Women In Development said, “The event is an outcome of intense preparation of women from the background of grass root activism. Every word from the women participants expresses their deep concern for people’s welfare and the entire event proclaims that women are better decision makers for people and country.”

The Legislative Business of the Tamil Nadu Women’s State Assembly

235 Women from all the legislative constituencies of Tamil Nadu with a strong back ground of activism, academics and with profound knowledge on state, national and international issues participated in the legislative business at the Tamil Nadu Women’s State Assembly.

The highly realistic Women’s State Assembly had all the mechanisms of the real legislative body such as Oath taking ceremony, Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Council of ministers, Tabling of the Governors Address, Budget session, Passing of Bills, Question and Zero hours, Half hour discussions, Call attentions etc that proclaims the political caliber of women in being effective legislators.

IMG 7825The Women’s State Assembly with Justice Care and Responsibility as basic principles was led by Prof. Saraswathy, a senior activist in Women’s and Human Rights Movement who played the role of Chief Minister .The house was preceded by Sr. Flora. Former Principal, Fatima College for Women, Madurai who played the role of the speaker. The deputy Speaker of the House was Ms.Ovia. The leader of the opposition was Ms. Sheelu from Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective. The cabinet of the Women’s State Assembly comprised of 25 ministers. The last day of the Women’s State Assembly had budget presentation by Dr.Neelavalli, Director, IWID who took up the role of the finance minister.Her novel Budget focused on Gross State Happiness / Gross National Happiness (GSH /GNH) index (new parameters to measure the happiness of the citizens of a state/country) in addition to GDP parameters.
The salient features of the Budget are as follows:

  1. The Women’s budget for the Tamil Nadu state by Dr. Neelavalli focuses on sustainable development with a tremendous increase for welfare programmes.
  2. The budget planning was done on the actual estimated figures with a total revenue of Rs 63091.74 crore.
  3. The Tamil Nadu Women’s State Assembly Budget is a surplus budget with an estimated expenditure of Rs. 62538.5 Crore with a surplus of Rs. 553.24 Crore to meet unforeseen expenditure.
  4. For the first time in the history of free India, allocation for Health is 13 percent of the total expenditure and allocation for Education reaches 20%.
  5. Agriculture; Small Scale and cottage industries; Urban and Rural Housing; Resource building for women; Social security ; Power Generation from Renewable energy sources; are some of the areas of intensive focus and care.
  6. Other salient features are special cells to meet the needs of the socially excluded.

Some of the important Bills that were tabled and passed:

Total prohibition Bill

Constitutional Amendment Bill 2009 for Women’s reservation allocating 50 percent of seats for women in the legislative assembly (This was passed in the First women’s parliament)
Amendments in the Special Marriages Act 1954

Policy notes from the 22 Ministries were tabled that demonstrated the Women’s vision for their state and people. Half hour discussions analyzed the impact of Self Help Groups; Rural Employment Generation Programme, SEZs and reviewed the Industrial Policy of the state; growing violence on Women, Dalits.

The process of Women State Assembly is an effective outcome of six months planning, preparation and training. Regional Trainings were organized by IWID in 5 phases. The final process, the First Women’s State Assembly-Tamil Nadu was a grand success due to the active participation by the women legislators from various constituencies of Tamil Nadu. The First Women’s State Assembly-Tamil Nadu proved that Women being better care takers are better decision makers for the state, nation.

IWID Publication

PDFStudy on Impact of Micro Credit in three Southern States in India

Author: Dr.NeelaValli ,Director IWID

Language : English 


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