Taking a step ahead towards women empowerment, Haryana administration is mulling over reserving 50 percent seats in panchayat polls for women. State Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala has said that they have already begun assessing the quality of work done by women in the villages.
This move comes five years after fixing mandatory educational qualification for sarpanches and other panchayat representatives. Women from the general category who hold a Class Eight certificate are eligible to participate in the polls, while education till Class Five is mandatory for females from the scheduled classes.
The government will select 100 women members based on the work they’ve done in the villages, and reward them with a Honda two-wheeler under corporate social responsibility initiative.
“The issue has been discussed in the meetings of BJP legislative group and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP). The government will take further steps once there is consensus among the people on this issue,” said Dushyant Chautala has told the media.
In 2016, out of 6.186 sarpanches who were elected in Haryana, 2,565 were women, and out of 60,436 panches, 6,186 were women. The government is yet to announce the final decision, but both the ruling parties - BJP and JJP are contemplating this move.
As per the Haryana Panchayati Raj, at least one-third reservation of seats for women is mandatory. A study published in 2018 has revealed that the number of female sarpanches rose to 41.5 percent in the 2016 election. This spike in numbers can be attributed to increased literacy among women in villages.
Dushyant Chautala also said that the government is taking all the requisite steps to maximise female inclusion in society and Panchayati Raj institutions.
“Earlier, we used to think that 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayat bodies would be in just 12-13 states. But when we examined the data, provision of this quota was found in 20 out of the total 28 states. After the introduction of the educational clause for the election of panchayat representatives in Haryana, the quality of work in panchayats has improved, especially where women are the village sarpanch,” he added.
Also read: Meet India’s First Woman Sarpanch: Chhavi Rajawat, Who Quit Her Corporate Career To Uplift A Village In Rajasthan
(Edited by Athira Nair)