Women in Decentralised Democracy (First Published in Vol.16, No.4, October-December, 1997)
AbstractThe 73rd Amendment Act, mainly, aimed at decentralising the power and also removing the gender imbalance and bias in the institutions of local self-governance. Article 243 (D) makes the provision for the one-third reservation of seats for women and it attracts the active participation of those excluded from the decision making process. In the past, also the Balwantrai Mehta Committee recommended co-option of two female members at the panchayati samiti and village panchayat levels. The experiences from the state of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal where reservations for women began even before the 73% Amendment Act indicate that women could put some of the priority issues, safe drinking water, girl education and basic health services on the panchayat's agenda. A recent study of panchayati raj in Haryana, which has reviewed the progress of about 100 elected women in four districts, indicated the beginning of a discernible revolution.
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