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UN report: India lags behind in Asia for representation of women

The report acknowledged that the worldwide average of women in national parliaments augmented in a meagre way from 22.6 per cent in 2015 to 23.3 per cent by the end of 2016

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United Nations, March 7, 2017: A report by a global inter-parliamentary institution on the account of the international women’s day stated that India was the only country in Asia to suffer from “setback” in women’s representation in parliaments in 2016.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) ‘Women in Parliament’ in 2016 review released ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8 stating about more ambitious measures
needed to be taken for enhancing the representation of women in the parliament.

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The reports call for a new approach in which inclusion of more women in decision making is witnessed.

In Asia, women’s representation in parliament increased by 0.5 per cent, from 18.8 per cent in 2015 to 19.3 per cent in 2016.

Moderate increases, were registered in all the countries holding elections – Iran, Japan, Laos, Mongolia, the Philippines, South Korea and Viet Nam – “with one notable exception” of India.

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“India recorded the region’s only setback. Reserved seats were successfully introduced for women in local government elections in 1994. However, a proposed constitutional amendment introduced in 2008 and intended to reserve national- level seats for women continues to be bogged down in parliamentary debate,” it stated.

Direct and indirect elections and Government appointments in June and July 2016 sent back a total of 27 women of the 244 members of Rajya Sabha. This was a 1.7 per cent decrement in the number of women to 11.1 per cent from 12.8 per cent at the previous renewals.

The report acknowledged that the worldwide average of women in national parliaments augmented in a meager way from 22.6 per cent in 2015 to 23.3 per cent by the end of 2016.

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However, in the recent years, the rate of progress has stabilised accentuating the need for relentless efforts in order to accomplish gender balance in politics.

“We must seize the opportunity to build on the successes of recent years because hard-won progress can often be fragile and readily lost, particularly at a time when engaging in politics has become even more challenging.

“Parliaments are crucial to ensuring women are among the world’s most high-profile leaders and to strengthening the policies and legislation needed to meet the goal of gender equality and women’s full and equal participation at all levels by 2030,” IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong spoke.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar of NewsGram. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

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It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

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President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)