Govt moots 50% quota for women in panchayats

The Union Cabinet today decided to reserve 50 percent of the seats in all rural panchayats for women.

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Thursady approved
a proposal to increase reservation for women to 50 percent in

The proposal, listed for consideration at the Cabinet
meeting today, was approved, Information and Broadcasting
Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

The proposal aims at amending Article 243(d) of the
Constitution, which provides for one-third reservation for
women in panchayats, and increase the quota to 50 percent.

President Pratibha Patil, in her address to the joint
sitting of Parliament on June 4, had said a Constitutional
amendment would be brought in to provide 50 percent quota for
women in panchayats and urban local bodies.

She had said since women suffer multiple deprivations of
class, caste and gender, enhancing reservation in panchayats
and urban local bodies would lead to more women entering the
public sphere.

BJP-led NDA ruled states like Bihar, Uttarakhand,
Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh took the lead and had
already implemented 50 percent reservation for women in
panchayati raj institutions.

While Rajasthan has announced implementation of the
proposal in the next panchayat election in 2010, Kerala has
declared that it would implement it.

Reservation historic: Joshi

Terming as "historic" the
Cabinet`s decision to enhance reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), Union Minister for Rural
Development C P Joshi today said the government fulfilled it`s
promise and will further stand by it.

"Government of India has taken a historical decision
today by approving the proposal to increase reservation for
women to 50 per cent in Panchayati Raj Institutions...We
fulfilled our promise. We will stand by it," Joshi told
reporters here.

Union Cabinet passed the proposal for moving a
Constitutional Bill for enhancing reservation for women in
PRIs "at all tiers" from one third to 50 per cent, he said.

"This will be applicable to the total number of seats
including offices of chairpersons and offices of chairpersons
reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, filled by
direct elections in Panchayats," he added.

Joshi said the reservation for women in these
institutions will empower women entering the public sphere and
will also make Panchayats more "inclusive institutions".

Bureau Report