Representation in Panchayats
Ten News Network
‘Panchayat’, being “Local government”, is a State subject and part of State list of Seventh Schedule of Constitution of India. Clause (3) of Article 243D of the Constitution ensures participation of women in Panchayati Raj Institutions by mandating not less than one- third reservation for women out of total number of seats to be filled by direct election and number of offices of chairpersons of Panchayats. As per the information available with the Ministry, 20 States namely Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have made provisions of 50% reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions in their respective State Panchayati Raj Acts. A statement showing the number of elected women representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the country, State/Union Territory-wise is given at Annexure.
Further, in terms of clause (4) of Article 243D of the Constitution, the offices of the Chairpersons in the Panchayats at the village or any other level shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide, provided that the number of offices of Chairpersons reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Panchayats at each level in any State shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of such offices in the Panchayats at each level as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the State or of the Scheduled Tribes in the State bears to the total population of the State, provided further that not less than one-third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level shall be reserved for women.
However, specific details of representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions, such as ‘the total number of women who hold the position of Sarpanch in the country’, ‘the total number of Sarpanch posts which are occupied by a member from Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe’, ‘the total number of Scheduled Caste members on non-reserved seats in Gram Panchayats’, ‘the number of Gram Panchayats where more than one-third Panchayat council leaders are women’ etc., are not maintained by the Central Government.
This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Shri Narendra Singh Tomar in Rajya Sabha today.