Published On: Wed, Mar 2nd, 2016

Govt plans to bring bill 50% quota for women in local bodies

New Delhi: The central government plans to bring a Constitutional amendment to increase reservation for women in gram panchayats and urban local bodies from 33 per cent to 50 per cent in the budget session of Parliament.

An Indian woman leads a meeting of her village’s panchayat, the governing body of local villages.

An Indian woman leads a meeting of her village’s panchayat, the governing body of local villages.

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Birender Singh, had already said, “though some States have provided 50% reservation to women in panchayats, the government will, through the Constitutional Amendment, ensure that it is implemented in the whole country.”

He also said the Ministry would bring about other changes in the law to reserve a particular ward for women for two terms of five years each from the existing single term so that they can undertake developmental activities in a continued fashion.

The government would bring a Bill to amend Article 243(D) of the Constitution to enhance the reservation.

This was first initiated by Manmohan Singh government in 2009. The Bill had first been introduced in the Lok Sabha in November 2009, after which it went through the committee process. It was re-introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2010 after the report had been tabled, after which it lapsed at the end of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.

The Modi government has now resurrected the proposal. According to sources, panchayati raj ministry submitted its note to cabinet secretariat on February 10 and urban development ministry on February 13. Sources said the government is planning to push this within the Budget session as it would like to showcase this as an achievement at the time of his second year anniversary.

“This is a move no political party would oppose so it can get Parliament nod any time. With the cabinet notes ready, this can be pushed through this session if Parliament functions,” an official of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ministry said.

Like any Constitutional amendment pertaining to states, this would also require ratification by half of the states.

Among the States that already follow 50% reservation for women in gram panchayats are Bihar, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

Inputs with ET

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