(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 28, 2010
Tripura Reserves 50% Seats for Women in Local Bodies
WHEN the UPA government at the centre was still in two minds about the much talked about 33 per cent reservation for reservation, Tripura state assembly unanimously passed two bills for reserving for women 50 per cent seats in the three tier panchayats and urban local bodies, including the office bearer posts. This happened on March 9, an hour before Rajya Sabha finally gave its nod to the national level bill.
The state assembly passed both the bills unanimously, with the Congress members not daring to oppose the bills for fear of severe public criticism and isolation.
Tripura has thus become the first state in the country to enact such laws for further empowerment of women, bearing testimony to the Left Front government’s political will to enhance women’s participation in the decision making and implementing process.
Until now, there was provision for 33 per cent reservation for women in the three tier panchayats and urban local bodies in of the state, including the office bearer posts. It is worth noting here that the corresponding central legislation does not have a provision for reservation in the office bearer posts. This is thus a pioneering effort of the Left Front government of the state.
On March 2, Tripura urban
development and panchayat minister Manik Dey introduced the Tripura
Act (Fifth Amendment bill) and the Tripura Municipal Act (Fourth
in the assembly and on March 9, both the bills were taken up for
simultaneously. Taking part in the discussion on the bills, chief
Manik Sarkar said this was a historic event not only for Tripura but
entire country. All the credit for the passing of these bills goes to
democratic movement of the state, in particular to the democratically
politically conscious women of the state. Sarkar said these bills were
being passed out of any compassion or pity for women. Rather these are
tribute to their capacity, potential and consciousness. He recalled
that it was
after the first Left Front government assumed office in 1978 that the
elected panchayats through secret ballot could be established in the
to that, panchayats were controlled by the landlords, moneylenders and
interests. It was the Left Front government which started the
system in the state. Taking a dig at the Congress without naming it,
Sarkar said there had been more than 40 incidents where patronised
attacked the elected women representatives. People of the state know
perpetrators very well. He cautioned that an attempt to create a
Panchayat minister Manik Dey said the bills were a part of the Left Front government’s continuous endeavour for women’s political and economic empowerment and emancipation. Four years ago, we had initiated a programme for women empowerment, and the government is now allotting money particularly for women in its gender budget within the state budget. Widows and destitute women are getting support with monthly allowances. Now we want them to take part more effectively in the decision making process. It is indeed a reflection of the genuine political will of the government and the parties running it, he opined.
Social welfare minister Bijita Nath said that, instead of effecting the women’s reservation bill in both houses of parliament, the union government is buying time in the name of a consensus. But the anti-people and pro-imperialist bills are easily being passed even without discussion, leave alone consensus.