The bill that will provide 50% reservation for women in all local self-government bodies – including corporations and councils – is likely to be passed in a majority in the state assembly. NCP chief and Union minister Sharad Pawar, who introduced the 33% reservation bill in 1994, wants the government to push for it. Also, the main opposition, the BJP, is unlikely to oppose it.
Former IAS officer Chandra Iyengar who drafted India’s first women’s policy (under which 33% reservation for women was provided by Maharashtra two decades ago) said this would also see young women enter politics. “Issues to do with women, right from water to health to security would get more importance. This could change the direction of the budget too,” Iyengar pointed out.
Shubha Khandekar, founder of CORO (Committee of Resource Organisations) for Literacy, which is working on issues of governance with women, said the move was the need of the hour. Corporator and former Mayor Shubha Raul said the step should be exercised in both the state and Centre and not remain a part of local self-governance.