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Bihar set to extend women’s quota to promotions and postings

The Bihar government has ordered to give adequate representation to women, on the lines of 35% quota in government jobs for them, in promotions and postings in various offices as well, sources familiar with the matter said
By Avinash Kumar, Patna
PUBLISHED ON JUN 19, 2021 10:00 PM IST

The Bihar government has ordered to give adequate representation to women, on the lines of 35% quota in government jobs for them, in promotions and postings in various offices as well, sources familiar with the matter said.

“The participation of 35% women should be ensured in postings at the regional level,” sources said, quoting from the letter they said was issued by the general administration department (GAD) late Friday evening.

Sources in the police headquarters confirmed to have received the directive, though there was no official release from the government.

The latest directive is in line with the Nitish Kumar government’s thrust on women empowerment and could mean more female subdivisional magistrates (SDM), block development officers (BDO), circle officers (CO) and station house officers (SHO).

After he came to power in 2005, Kumar has taken a slew of initiatives for women empowerment, which began with a scheme to provide cycles for girls to improve their enrolment in secondary and higher secondary schools. The result was quite encouraging. For the first time in Bihar, more girls were enrolled than boys in class 9 last year, almost a five-fold increase since 2007-08, bringing gender parity in school education.

Later, his government made education free for all girls up to the post-graduation level. Now, the government has also given 35% quota to women in the engineering and medical colleges and the upcoming sports university, a first in the country.

The government’s emphasis on women empowerment is evident in the fact that Bihar has 11 lakh Jeevika groups in the state, the highest number of women’s self-help groups in the country.

Kumar took it further with 50% quota for women in panchayats and teaching jobs and later 35% quota in government jobs for them. Now, the government wants to use this strong workforce in the decision-making process.

“All this also reflected improved performance on social indices for women in the recent Niti Ayog’s ranking of states despite Bihar’s bottom ranking. This is what will help the state improve its overall ranking also,” said Prof Vijay Kumar of BRA Bihar University.

Bihar’s revenue and land reforms minister Ram Surat Kumar said his department would consider reservation for women in the next transfer/posting of circle officers.

According to a report published by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), as on January 1, 2020, women accounted for 25.3% of the police strength in Bihar.

Of the total 91,862 police members in the state, 23,245 are women, the highest among all states. This is double the national average of 10.3% (up from 8.9% in 2019) and a significant improvement from 2015, when women accounted for just 3.3% of the force in Bihar.

However, the number of women in officer-grade posts is just 32 among 1,220 police inspectors, 920 in 10,039 sub-inspectors and 185 in 6,675 assistant sub-inspectors.

Apart from in-house tasks like maintaining registers and filing FIRs, the police women are generally involved in law-and-order duties.

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