Sunday 23 January 2022
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Amendment to raise women’s reservation in panchayats to 50%

New Delhi: The government today said that it would push Amendments for increasing to 50% the reservation for women in panchayats from 33% in the coming Budget session of Parliament.

Speaking at a national workshop here on “Implementation of PESA Act: Issues and way forward”, Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Birender Singh said, though some states had provided 50% reservation to women in panchayats, through the constitutional Amendment, it will be implemented in the whole country. “PESA” stands for Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas.

Singh also expressed hope that all political parties will extend support in the passage of the amendment. The minister informed that it would also bring about changes in the law to reserve wards for women for 2 terms of 5 years each from the existing single term so that they could undertake developmental activities in a continued fashion.

On the basis of the report of the Bhuria Committee submitted in 1995, the PESA was enacted in 1996 to extend Part IX of the with certain modifications and exceptions to Fifth Schedule areas in 108 districts in 10 States. The minister made a strong pitch for faster implementation of the PESA Act by States for the uplift of tribals, saying that they could not wait any longer for development as they had already waited for 65 years.

Singh said that effective implementation of the PESA would enhance people’s participation in decision-making at the local level as the tribal population would be more comfortable raising their issues and concerns in smaller gram sabhas at the level rather than at the gram panchayat level.

Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj Nihal Chand said that the PESA would have a positive impact in preventing and checking extremism and resentment among tribal population if implemented effectively. He thanked the NDA government for organizing such a workshop on PESA after 20 years in force to assess the effectiveness of the Act and to chart a new course of action.

Nihal Chand said that financial assistance under the 14th Finance Commission was also available to the Fifth Schedule Areas for supporting and strengthening the delivery of basic services.

Panchayati Raj and Tribal Development Ministers from 10 States are attending the workshop.

The agenda for discussions in the 2-day workshop include framing of PESA model rules; compliance with the provisions of the State panchayati raj laws and subject laws with provisions of the PESA Act; empowerment of the gram sabha; strategies for capacity building; infrastructure and staff in gram panchayats and effective utilisation of grant of 14th Finance Commission awards etc.

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