Ahmedabad: In what could be described as
‘incentive-driven’ empowerment of women, as many as 254
villages in Gujarat have entrusted their panchayats entirely
to women and to college-going girls in one case.
Under the scheme, government gives a reward of Rs 3 lakh
for all-women panchayats in villages having under-5,000
population, and of Rs 5 lakh for villages with above-5,000
All panchayat members including the sarpanch in these
villages are women, elected unopposed under the state
government`s `samras` scheme.
The number of such all-women panchayats has risen from 20
in the last elections to 254 this time, said Deputy Rural
Development Commissioner, M S Vyas.
Elections to 10,405 village panchyats in the state will
be held on December 29. But in 2,147 villages, which have
opted for samras scheme, panchayat members have been declared
elected unopposed, and 254 of them have all-women panchayats.
The objective of samras is to avoid inter-village
enmities which the election politics creates.
Siswa, in Anand district, has opted for samras, and
handed over administration to educated young girls for the
next five years. All the 12 members of the panchayat are
"Although financial incentive must be a reason for the
villagers to empower women in this way, this is a development
as women will get training in running the administration. In
the long run, they will be ready to handle bigger
responsibilities," said rural development and panchayat
minister, Narottam Patel.