Reservation for Women in Panchayats

The States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tripura and Uttarakhand have provided 50% reservation for women in Panchayats.

In order to enhance the reservation for women in Panchayats from existing one third to not less than one half, a Constitution Amendment Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in November 2009. This Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development by Speaker. The Report of the Standing Committee was considered by the Government and keeping in view their recommendations, an Official Amendment has been formulated to the Original Amendment Bill, to make the reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes proportionate to their rural population.

The Constitution has provided for reservation of not less than one third seats and offices of Chairpersons of Panchayati Raj Institutions(PRIs) for women. As such, the Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) are not mere proxy for male relatives but statutorily empowered to hold seats and offices in PRIs. Though no survey has been got conducted in this regard by this Ministry, instructions have been issued to all States that it is the responsibility of the Panchayat Officers/Secretaries not to allow the relatives to attend Panchayat meetings by proxy. It has also been conveyed to them that Officers/Secretaries who allow relatives to attend instead of office bearers are also equally guilty of allowing such interference and the defaulting Officers/Secretaries should be proceeded against departmentally.

The above information was given by the Minister of Panchayati Raj Shri V. Kishore Chandra Deo in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.


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