Shimla: Following certain incentives for single women in the state, the Himachal Pradesh government on Tuesday took yet another step towards women empowerment by clearing a bill for increasing reservation for women in Panchayats, Nagar Panchayats and Nagar Parishad from 33% to 50%.
Himachal Pradesh would thus become the third state after Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to give 50% reservation to women in panchayats and local bodies. Three separate bills were introduced to bring about the amendment – Himachal Pradesh Panchayati Raj (Amended) Bill, 2008, Himachal Pradesh Nagar Palika (Amended) Act and Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation (Amended) Act.
Though the Congress supported the bills, the party put up a technical argument of constitutional provision of 33% reservation. Congress MLA Kuldeep Singh Pathania said, “In this view the Bills should finally be able to stand up to the judicial scrutiny.”
Dhumal said that there were 3,242 Panchayats, 28 Nagar Panchayats, 20 Nagar Parishads and one Municipal Corporation in Shimla, where due to the enactment in future 50 % of those to be elected would be women.
Meanwhile, amidst strong opposition from the Congress Party, the Himachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (Amendment) Bill, 2008 was also passed. While earlier there was a fixed three year term for members of the commission, including chairperson, the Bill would restrict their tenure to a period that suits each government.