Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that the Women’s Reservation Bill – seeking 33% reservation for women in state Legislative Assemblies and Parliament – is passed in Parliament, PTI reported. In November, the Odisha Assembly had passed by a voice vote a resolution seeking reservation for women in Assemblies and Parliament.

“I would like to request your good-self to take the leadership in initiating necessary steps for passing the Bill for reservation of one-third of seats in Parliament and state legislature for women,” Patnaik said in a letter to Modi. The chief minister said the Odisha government will support women in achieving their rightful place in the decision-making process.

Patnaik said no household, no state or country has ever moved forward without empowering its women. “The principle of gender equality is enshrined in our Constitution,” Patnaik said. “The country will move forward with much greater momentum only if the other half of our population, our mothers, sisters and daughters have a role in the highest decision-making bodies of our states and country.”

In 2011, the Odisha government had lifted the reservation for women in panchayats and urban local bodies from 33% to 50%, he said.

The Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, is currently pending in Parliament. In July, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha as well.

Of the 543 legislators elected in the 2014 general elections, only 62 were women, according to PRS Legislative. This is only marginally higher than the 58 women who were elected to the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009.