The government might be finding it difficult to garner support for reserving 33% seat for women in Parliament but it seems it is doing its bit to empower women in municipalities.
The Union cabinet is likely to clear a proposal on Tuesday reserving 50% of the elected seats for women in urban local bodies (ULBs) across the country. At present, only one-third of the seats in the local bodies are reserved for women.
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa and Chhattisgarh have already reserved 50% seats in their ULBs for women.
In 2009, the cabinet had approved 50% reservation in panchayats for women.
The Constitution Amendment Bill, 2009 is being moved by the urban development ministry. Article 243 (T) of this amendment provides for one-third quota in elected seats for women in ULBs. “This is being enhanced to 50%. It also includes reservation for women upto 50% in seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and 50% reservation for women for the chairpersons post,” said an official.
Government officials said the move will not only result in increased representation of women in municipal corporations but will also result in higher priorities to women's issues.
Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary, All India Democratic Women’s Association said, “The next logical step for the government would be to ensure reserving 33% of the seats in the top most decision making body of the country for women.”
The Women’s Reservation Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in March 2010, but is yet to be introduced in the Lok Sabha.