The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has cleared a proposal to increase reservation for women to 50% in all tiers Panchayats to empower women at the grassroots level.
It is proposed to amend Article 243D of the Constitution that currently provides for 33% reservation for women in panchayats. to be increased to 50%. The “women only” seats in panchayats will be rotated.
The one-third reservation for women in panchayats came through the 73rd constitutional amendment during PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure as PM.
Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh already have 50% reservation for women in panchayats.
With the proposed constitutional amendment, the number of elected women’s representatives at the grassroots level is expected to rise to more than 14 lakh. At present, women account for 36.87% of the total 28.1 lakh elected panchayat representatives.