The state government is all set to increase reservation for Punjab women to 50 percent from the existing 33 in Panchayat Raj Institutions. The decision was taken at a meeting of the council of ministers presided by Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab.
This happened a day before the budget session of the Punjab assembly. This means the bill to amend Punjab Municipal Act of 1911 and the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act of 1976 and the Panchayati Raj Act of 1994 will be presented during the budget session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, according to IANS. The amendment, which was a promise made by the ruling party during the election, will ensure that women have increased chances of being directly elected as members of gram panchayats, zila parishads, and other similar bodies.
The amendment will help empower women in the rural areas by enhancing their reservation quota in the direct elections for members of gram panchayats, panchayat samitis, and zila parishads, besides municipal corporations, municipal councils and nagar panchayats. It also means that 50 wards from municipal corporations, nagar panchayats, and municipal councils will also be reserved for women.
Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar are some of the states that brought in 50 percent reservation for women in local bodies much before constitutional amendment demanded it to be implemented in the whole country.
Talking about the importance of reservation for women while bringing in this amendment, Union Minister Birender Singh told Zee News,
"Reservation for women in panchayats will facilitate more women to enter public sphere and it will empower them and strengthen country's parliamentary democracy at the grass-roots level,"
The plan also included bringing in another constitutional amendment for increasing women’s tenure to ten years to make sure that they get to continue their developmental activities without having to stop.