New Delhi: A Parliamentary Standing
Committee today gave its thumbs-up to a bill that seeks to
increase the number of reserved seats for women to 50 per cent
in urban local bodies from the existing 33 per cent.
The Standing Committee on Urban Development, broadly
agreeing to the Constitution (One Hundred and Twelfth
Amendment) Bill, 2009, however, suggested some changes in the
proposed legislation. The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on
November 24 last year and later it was sent to the committee.
In its report, the committee said "enhancement of
reservation for women in urban local bodies would not only
ensure their increased representation and participation but
also go a long way in articulating the voice of the women who
constitute almost 50 per cent of the population."
The bill also provides for reservation of seats for SCs
and STs in proportion to their population in the concerned
However, the Sharad Yadav-led committee questioned the
move to make reservation for SCs and STs in the offices of
chairpersons in municipalities in proportion to their
population in the whole state instead of considering their
population in a municipal area.
The committee asked when seats in a municipality are
reserved for SCs and STs in proportion to their population in
the area then why a separate criteria is sought to be adopted
for electing the chairperson.
"The committee are of the view that a true demographic
representation should be taken into account for electing the
chairperson also," it said favouring reservation of offices of
chairpersons for SCs and STs based on their population in the
The committee also suggested similar amendment to make
reservation in offices of chairpersons in panchayati raj
institutions in rural areas.
Seeking proper training for women representatives, the
committee said Government must take steps to ensure that the
women do not become "proxy" representatives.
The government should initiate rapid training programme
for all women representatives of urban local bodies to obviate
such proxy representation, it said.
Highlighting the need for having a proper policy for
rotation of seats in municipalities and also for offices of
chairpersons, the committee urged the government to invite
views from all the states on the issue.
The bill has left the matter of rotation of seats as well
as prescribing its terms to discretion of state governments.
"The committee desires that the rotation cycle of reservation
of seats for women may be extended to two terms and strongly
feels that there needs to be a uniformity across the states."
On reserving seats for OBCs among women, it said
modalities for reservation of seats should be left to states.