Tripura gives women 50 percent quota in panchayat

Agartala, March 9 (IANS) The Tripura assembly late Tuesday unanimously passed two bills enhancing reservation for women in three-tier panchayats (village councils) and urban local bodies from the existing 33 percent to 50 percent.

Tripura Panchayat and Urban Development Minister Manik Dey last week moved the Tripura Panchayats (fifth amendment) Bill, 2010, and the Tripura Municipal (fourth amendment) Bill, 2010, in the ongoing session of the Tripura assembly.

Terming the two bills as ‘historic’, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said in the house: ‘The enhancement of reservation for the women is not being done to provide kindness to women, this is being done to establish the equal responsibility of men and women in the society.’

‘The Left Front government in Tripura sincerely wants the empowerment of women and bring them into the decision making process and this constitutional amendment would certainly help the process,’ he added.

The opposition Congress supported both bills.

The preamble to the bills passed by the assembly said: ‘Women constitute nearly 50 percent of the population but have been traditionally kept out of public life and decision making process because of various socio-economic conditions prevailing in the country.’

‘The increased participation of women in public life after introduction of reservation has proved to have many benefits and the speed of development had accelerated many fold,’ it added.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government last year proposed reservation of 50 percent seats for women in three-tier panchayats and urban local bodies across the country.

The draft bill, approved by the union cabinet Oct 22 last year, was sent to each state seeking their opinion on increasing reservation of seats for women from the present 33 percent to 50 percent.

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