Women in Haryana will now have equal participation in the state’s panchayat polls with the Vidhan Sabha Friday passing a Bill to amend the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act to ensure that 50 per cent seats are kept for women.
While JJP called it “50 per cent reservation for women” in seats, CM Manohar Lal Khattar, during a press conference after the session’s proceedings concluded, clarified that “it wa not a reservation, but participation”.
Explaining the difference between the reservation and participation, Khattar added, “We passed a Panchayati Raj Second Amendment Bill. Earlier, the participation of women was not less than 33 per cent. With that provision too, 41-43 per cent women were elected as Sarpanches. But, then suggestions were received to increase it to 50 per cent. Thus, rather than reservation, we have introduced ‘participation’. Otherwise, it (number of elected women) would reach 65-66 per cent on the basis of reservation.”
According to the amendment, seats will be reserved for women and men on the basis of even-odd numbers. The village where a woman sarpanch will be elected once, in the next term, the village will have ‘other than woman’ as sarpanch. “It may even include a transgender,” Khattar said.
On passing the amendment, Deputy CM Dushyant Chautala congratulated the women of the state and said, “This Bill will infuse confidence and empower women in the state.”
Talking about the amendment, Dushyant said, “This rule will be applicable in future elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions i.e. Zilla Parishad, Block Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayats. Each village would be given codes based on even-odd numbers. For the first time, sarpanch will be a woman in even-numbered villages and next time, woman sarpanch will be elected in the odd number village. In this manner, five out of every ten years, every village of Haryana will have a woman sarpanch. This rule will also be applicable on reserved posts and posts will be reserved on the basis of even-odd numbers in them also. Not only this, the same process will be maintained in respect of Panchayats of Gram Panchayat and 50 per cent of Panchayat posts will be for women.”
“The odd-even formula will also be adopted for the posts of District Council and Block Committee members and chairman. After this significant change in the Panchayati Raj Act, 50 per cent participation of women in the Panchayati Raj system of Haryana will be ensured,” Dushyant added.
“This Bill is going to be a boon for women from rural areas of Haryana. The women of rural areas elected in Panchayati Raj institutions will not only be the voice of their village but will also establish new dimensions of development,” Dushyant added.
Dushyant’s mother and MLA from Bhadra, Naina Chautala, said, “I express gratitude to Chief Ministe Manohar Lal and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala for the big step taken towards women empowerment. I also thank all the MLAs for their support to pass this Bill. By ensuring 50 percent participation of woman in Panchayats, not only will the image of Gram panchayats change but women will also contribute significantly in development of the village.”
Right to recall
As per the amendment, a provision of Right to Recall was passed. With the enactment of this Bill, the villagers have got the right to remove a Sarpanch who fails to perform, even before his or her tenure is over. “There is a possibility of revolutionary change in the matter of rural development by the sarpanch after the implementation of this new rule,” Dushyant said. “The dream of ‘Right to Recall’ was seen by the former Deputy Prime Minister of the country, Chaudhary Devi Lal. The Development & Panchayats Department often received complaints that the sarpanch was acting against the public sentiments. Every year, hundreds of such complaints are made right from the block level to district level and state headquarters. To remove the sarpanch, 33 per cent of the voters of the village will give a complaint of no confidence in writing to the concerned officer. This proposal will go to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer and CEO. After this, a meeting of Gram Sabha will be called and discussion will be held for two hours. A secret ballot will be held immediately after this meeting and if 67 per cent of the villagers vote against the sarpanch, the sarpanch will be relieved of his duties. A motion of no confidence can be evoked under this rule only after the sarpanch has completed one year in office,” Dushyant said explaining about the new provision added.
“During the motion of no confidence, if the two-third votes are not cast against the sarpanch then no confidence motion can only be evoked again after next one year. In this way, ‘Right to Recall’ can be evoked only once in a year. With the introduction of this Bill, there will be an unprecedented change in development works in rural areas. Sarpanch will now give priority to development works in accordance with the sentiments of the villagers,” Dushyant said.
BC (A) class to get 8% reservation in panchayat polls
For the first time in the election of Gram Panchayat, the BC (A) class will get the benefit of eight per cent reservation in Panchayat elections. “With the implementation of this rule, people belonging to BC-A class will get more representation in Panchayati Raj Institutions,” Dushyant said
Land revenue amendment Bill
With a view to curb the partition of shares on the land related litigations, Haryana Vidhan Sabha passed the Punjab Land Revenue Haryana Amendment Bill. “In the revenue records, partition of land where co-sharers are there, remains pending for years. People used to face lots of difficulties. We have now introduced a provision that all the co-sharers shall be given a notice to reply within 30 days. It will not be applicable to blood-relations. Except for the blood relations, rest all co-sharers shall be given a six month time to respond for their partition of share. One extension of another six months shall be given. If it is not done in one year, then the Revenue Department will do it automatically within next three months. That will reduce lots of litigation. There are 48 lakh such co-sharers in Haryana, especially for agriculture land”.
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