Tribal women forced to act as 'stooges', says panel

Tribal women forced to act as 'stooges', says panel

 Tribal women are forced to act as “stooges” in local bodies and seldom seen asserting themselves while exercising their power, a Parliamentary panel has said.

Lamenting that the quality of tribal women’s participation in the political process has been “scarcely satisfactory”, the Committee on “Empowerment of Women” said it is aware of the root causes that come in their way to enjoy the maximum benefits of such political entitlements.

The panel headed by Bijoya Chakravarty acknowledged that reservation of seats in panchayats and municipal bodies has been proven favourable for political empowerment of tribal women as it opened up the scope for meaningful social engagement.However, the panel said, “Tribal women, more often than not, are forced to act as stooges in local bodies and seldom seen asserting themselves in terms of identification of beneficiaries, assigning contacts, preparation of budgets, planning etc.”

The committee said the reason for such a situation is due to their low level of education.

Plan of action

Panel wants the central and state governments to engage voluntary organisations, women groups, social organisations and NGOs to "politically engage" tribal women representatives through an array of short duration camps, workshops and seminars.

The government could also come up with special incentives for the bureaucrats who show exemplary contribution in fields of political empowerment of tribal women through their novel initiatives.

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