With more than two children, one can’t contest panchayat polls in Assam



GUWAHATI:  An amendment Bill passed by Assam Assemble has barred persons with more than two children from contesting panchayat elections in the state besides determining minimum education qualification for one top become eligible to be members and chief of different levels of Panchayati Raj bodies in the state.

As per the Panchayat (Amendment) Bill passed by Assam Assembly, from now onwards, persons with more than two living children from a single partner or multiple partners, will not be eligible to contest panchayat election. The Bill was passed amid vociferous protests and walk-outs by opposition Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) members.

The Bill also determines minimum education qualification for a person aspiring to become a member of village panchayat, president of village panchayat, member of Zila Parishad and president of Zila Parishad.

As per the amendment Bill, a person from general category must be class-VI passed to be able to become a member of village panchayat while there is no minimum education qualification fixed for persons from backward communities.

To become the president of village panchayat or a member of Anchalik panchayat, a general category person must pass Class X while the minimum qualification for aspirants from backward communities is Class VIII passed.

The minimum education qualification for aspirants from general category to contest election to Zila Parishads has been made Class XII passed while the same for backward communities is Class X passed.

The Bill also has made it mandatory for panchayat offices to have sanitary toilets.

Meanwhile, opposition Congress and AIUDF have demanded that the state Assembly should first fix minimum education qualification for persons contesting Assembly and Parliamentary elections before going to enforce minimum education qualifications for members, presidents of panchayat bodies.

Senior cabinet minister in charge of health, education, finance etc., Dr Himanta Bishwa Sarma while responding to opposition’s protest on behalf of the state government told the House that the two-children norms fixed for panchayat members was in tune with the population policy that had already been adopted by Assam government.

Regarding minimum education qualification of panchayat bodies members, he said it had to be started somewhere to improve the general level of education in the state.

He pledged that Assam Assembly would adopt a resolution fixing minimum education qualification for its members as well as for MPs from the state.

“An all-party delegation will then move the President, Prime Minister and Lok Sabha Speaker for giving effect to the same across the country,” Sarma said as the protesting Congress and AIUDF members maintained that the Assembly had no moral right to fix minimum education qualification for panchayat bodies members as there no such norms existing for MLAS and MPs.







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