50% reservation for women will bring gender equality: Jayant

Mumbai: Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil on Tuesday said the women's reservation bill for 50 per cent seats in panchayat samitis and zilla parishads will pave the way to bring women on par with their male counterparts in the decision making process at the grassroot level.

Speaking on the bill to amend the Bombay Village Panchayats Act 1958 and the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samiti's Act 1961 in the Legislative Assembly, Patil described the move to provide 50 per cent reservation for women as "historic" and a milestone in the state's history.

He said Maharashtra was the first state to introduce 33 per cent reservation for women in the local bodies in the early 1990s when Sharad Pawar was the Chief Minister.

Patil said the passage of the bill will enable women's reservation in seats as members of village panchayats and of panchayat samitis, as councillors in zilla parishads and also as in offices of Sarpanch and president of zilla parishad and chairman of panchayat samitis.