Riding high on Congress victories in assembly elections in three states, the Cabinet on Thursday decided to expand coverage of the Prime Minister’s 15-Point programme for minorities and reserve every second seat in urban local bodies like the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for women.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the Cabinet had approved enhancing reservation for women in urban local bodies from the existing one third to fifty per cent.
This provision will apply to the total number of seats to be filled by direct election, offices of chairpersons and seats and offices of chairpersons reserved for SCs and STs.
Soni also announced the decision to expand coverage of the 15-Point Programme for minorities to cover three schemes, Rural Drinking Water Programme, Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns and Urban Infrastructure and Governance.
As a result, 15 per cent of the funds under these schemes would have to flow into identified minority concentration areas.
The Cabinet also approved inclusion of Mewat district as a minority concentration district in place of Gurgaon, she said, pointing that the Cabinet had also empowered members of parliament and legislative assembly members in the state to play a role in monitoring spending under this programme.
An official spokesperson said recruitment of minorities had gone up from 6.95 per cent in 2006-07 to 9.18 per cent in 2008-09 after the revised 15-point programme was launched in 2006.
The Cabinet also approved National Policy on Disaster Management to provide a roadmap for handling natural disasters and a strategy to minimise damage by taking preventive measures.