The Cabinet on Thursday cleared a change to a constitution amendment bill to enhance the representation of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe women in panchayats. With the change, the reservation of women in such bodies rises from 33% to 50%.
The Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved addition of a word ‘rural’ before ‘population’ to a clause of the constitution (110th amendment) bill, I&B minister Ambika Soni said.
The change will entitle SC/ST women to be represented in proportion to their population in rural areas, which could be higher than their proportion at the state level.
“This provision will apply to the total number of seats filled by direct election, offices of chairpersons and seats and offices of chairpersons reserved for SCs and STs,” Soni said.
The bill that was introduced in the Lok Sabha in June, 2010, seeks to hike reservation for women in panchayats at all tiers from one third to at least 50%.
The amendment was suggested by the Parliamentary Standing panel on rural development in its report presented to the LS on July 28 last year.