Representation of Women in Panchayat System : Kapil Moreshwar Patil

New Delhi : Article 243D of the Constitution of India provides for not less than one-third reservation for women out of total number of seats to be filled by direct election and number of offices of chairpersons of Panchayats. However, as per the information available with the Ministry, 21 States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, have made provision of 50% reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions in their respective State Panchayati Raj Acts. In respect of remaining States, Constitutional provision as prescribed in Article 243D applies.

‘Panchayat’, being ‘Local Government’, is a State subject and part of Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. Accordingly, all Panchayat related matters, including representation of women in Panchayat systems, are governed by the respective State Panchayati Raj Acts and rules, subject to the provisions of the Constitution. However, Government has been encouraging increased involvement of women in the functioning of Panchayats through active participation in the Gram Sabha meetings for preparation of Gram Panchayat Development Plans and various schemes being implemented by the Panchayats. This Ministry has also issued advisories to the States to facilitate holding of separate Ward Sabha and MahilaSabha meetings prior to Gram Sabha meetings, enhancing the presence and participation of women in Gram Sabha and Panchayat meetings, allocation of Panchayat funds for women centric activities, combating the evil of women trafficking, female foeticide, child marriage etc.

Article 280 (3) (bb) of the Constitution of India provides for the Finance Commission to make recommendations regarding the measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the Panchayats in the State on the basis of the recommendations made by the Finance Commission of the State. Accordingly, to improve the functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions, including women related activities; funds have been recommended by Central Finance Commissions successively.

Funds released by Government in pursuance of recommendations of Central Finance Commission are as under:-

                                                                            (in Rs. Crore)

Central Finance Commission Award period Recommendation Released
14th 2015-20 2,00,292.20 183278.54
15th (Interim Report) 2020-21 60,750.00 60,659.00
15th (Final Report) 2021-22 44,901.00 22,327.90*

*Till 17th November, 2021

This information was given by Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj Kapil Moreshwar Patil in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

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