Uttar Pradesh government weighing quota formulas for panchayat polls
- The UP govt is discussing whether to opt for rotation or go by the Zero formula, where fresh reservation of panchayats would be ordered without factoring in their categorisation in previous elections.
The Uttar Pradesh government was unsure over which mathematical formula to use for allocating different castes and class categories to village panchayats, causing the delay in finalisation of the reservation policy for the three-tier panchayat polls, people aware of the issue said.
This situation had arisen even as potential candidates were anxiously waiting for the categorisation, they added. The state government had earlier indicated it wanted to hold panchayat polls in the state in March-April and preparations were being made accordingly. The real election activities including campaigning in rural areas will begin only after the category status of the village panchayats is known.
Currently, two formulas are being discussed to finalise the reservation policy, according to those in the know of things. One is to adopt the rotation formula under which panchayats can be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (STs), the Scheduled Castes (STs) and the Backward Classes (BCs) on the basis of the strength of their population under a block in the descending order but in a way, as far as possible, that a village panchayat is not reserved for the same category for which it was reserved in the previous election.
The second formula being discussed suggested afresh allocations without taking the status of Panchayats in the previous elections into account and treating them as if they were never reserved or categorised earlier.
State panchayati raj minister Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary said the reservation options were being discussed before a policy was framed to allot posts/seats to the reserved categories in village panchayats and wards.
“We have to decide between rotation and the Zero Formula,” he said, adding, “The policy will be finalised soon.”
Officials in the panchayati raj department disclosed that the government wanted to drive the Zero Formula to reserve village panchayats afresh as if they were being reserved for the first time.
“If this is done, then village panchayats under the block will be reserved for STs, SCs and BCs on the basis of the strength of their population in the descending order as per entitlement which is, for example, 21.5% for SCs,” the officials explained.
“The panchayats/posts that are left after the quota allotment is over are allotted to the general or the unreserved category where a candidate belonging to any caste or class is entitled to contest,” they added.
A government order issued in 2015, however, is coming in the way of applying the Zero Formula and the government, officials said, may have to amend the old rules to have its way.
As per the rules laid down under The Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Raj (Reservation and Allotment of Seats and Offices) (Tenth Amendment) Rules, 2015, the number of offices of pradhans for the STs, SCs, and the BCs “shall” be allotted to different gram panchayats under the development block on the basis of the ratio of their population in the panchayat area in the descending order, that is, from amongst the gram panchayat in the block.
The gram panchayat, in the territorial area of which the ratio of population of the STs is the highest “shall” be allotted to them and gram panchayats, in the territorial area of which the ratio of population the SCs is the highest “shall” be allocated to them and the same for the BCs.
And in the subsequent election, the allotment “shall” be made in the same manner but in a way, as far as possible that a gram panchayat is not allotted to the category to which that panchayat was reserved in the previous election, the rules clarify.
The rules provide for fresh reservation or adoption of a Zero Formula in a situation when the general delimitation of the state makes massive changes in the boundaries of village panchayats.
As many as 7,315 new village panchayats and around 10,000 new territorial constituencies (wards) were carved out following a general delimitation ordered by the then Akhilesh Yadav government in 2015 in the wake of Census in 2011.
“Widespread changes made it necessary for the then government to go for reserving village panchayats afresh without factoring in their categorisation in previous elections,” those privy to the matter said.
Prior to 2015, the general delimitation was done in 1995.
“Logically, the government should proceed further from 2015 and adopt the rotation formula to reserve village panchayats and wards. The same formula should continue till there is general delimitation after 15 years or so,” they said.
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