Govt reserves 50pc seats and posts for women in panchayat

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to increase women representation in grass root level politics, Orissa government today decided to reserve 50 per cent of seats and posts for women in the three-tire panchayati raj institutions.

This was decided at the cabinet meeting here chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. "The cabinet has decided to increase the women reservation quota to not less than 50 per cent from the existing 33 per cent in the three tire panchayati raj system," said chief secretary B K Patnaik.

The decision would be implemented in the state in the panchayat elections in February-March, 2012. "The reservation for women will not be just 50 per cent, it should be not less than 50 per cent," Tripathy said.

Orissa had been the first state in the country to reserve one-third of the seats in panchayati raj system earlier, panchayati raj secretary S N Tripathy.

However, several states had increased the women quota in panchayati raj system before it is done by Orissa.

In another decision, the government also extended tenure of rotation of posts categories in the panchayat system. "A seat reserved for women, ST, SC or OBC will be changed after two terms instead of one term," Tripathy said.

The government also gave the power to gram panchayats to levy tax on properties in their respective jurisdictions.

However, the gram panchayat tax could not be imposed on BPL families.