50 pc quota for women in panchayats soon

50 pc quota for women in panchayats soon

Centre likely to allow two consecutive terms

50 pc quota for women in panchayats soon
Women representatives in a panchayat could soon get two consecutive terms as the Centre is mulling over amendments to the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act.

“At present, a ward is reserved for women candidates in panchayat polls for five years. We are planning to increase that to two terms (10 years) so that a woman candidate is enthused to do public work and strengthen her leadership as well,” Rural Development Minister Birendra Singh said here.

He was speaking at a two-day national workshop on “Implementation of PESA Act: Issues and way forward”.

Singh said the government will also push amendments for increasing to 50 percent reservation for women in panchayats in the upcoming Budget session of Parliament.

At present, 33 percent seats are reserved for women in panchayat polls. “We hope to bring the amendment (for 50 percent reservation for women) during the upcoming Budget session,” the minister said adding that the proposal was unlikely to be opposed by political parties.

The minister also said the government was mulling over a reduction in the age limit for offering pension to widows. Currently, widows aged above 40 are eligible for pension.

Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj Nihal Chand said the workshop was the first initiative in nearly 20 years towards the implementation of the act.

Panchayati raj and tribal development ministers from 10 states are attending the workshop. Chand said financial assistance under the 14th finance commission award was also available to the fifth schedule areas for supporting and strengthening the delivery of basic services.

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