Govt introduces bill to reserve 50 pc seats for women

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to ensure larger representation of women in local self-government at the grass-root level, the state government on Thursday introduced a bill in the state Assembly to reserve half of seats of members and chairpersons for women in Panchayati Raj institutions.

The objective of the bill is to reserve 50 per cent of seats for women in the three-tire Panchayati Raj institutions instead of the earlier provision of not less than one-third of seats.

The Orissa Panchayat Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, will come for debate later, said Panchayati Raj Minister Prafulla Samal.

The state government also introduced separate bills for increasing salaries and allowances of speaker, deputy speaker, ministers and MLAs.

While the bills relating to the reservation for women and hike in the salaries of speaker, deputy speaker, ministers and MLAs were taken to business advisory committee for fixing schedule of discussion on them, the house initiated debate on the Appropriation Bill, 2011

The bill was introduced by Revenue Minister S N Patro on behalf of Finance Minister P C Ghadai.

Initiating debate, the leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress accused the state government of failing on all fronts.

"This government has failed in every sector and earned bad name for the state through a series of scams in mining, coal and dal," Singh said accusing the BJD government of encouraging industries at the cost of farmers.

The opposition leader reiterated demanded of CBI probe in different corruption cases even as the state government had rejected it.

While farmers commit suicides under loan burden, the state government had no sympathy towards their families. "The government had taken no step to stop suicide by farmers," Singh alleged.

Alleging that the state government was "bending" laws to benefit corporate houses and other influential persons, poor and innocent tribals were subjected to torture and branded as Maoists by the police.