Friday, December 8, 2023

Just a formality? In Chhattisgarh, too, men rule behind women’s seats


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Shillong, September 24: Chhattisgarh, one of the newly formed states in the country, has reached a stage in its development where women have seen an increasing share in power as time has passed. The recently passed Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament has raised new hopes. However, despite these developments, the decisions of elected female representatives in the state continue to be overshadowed by others.

From panchayats to the Assembly, there is representation of women who hold 50 per cent of the seats in panchayats. However, their representation in other institutions, aside from the Assembly, is significantly lower. The Women’s Reservation Bill will bring a transformation in the state’s institutions.

To delve into the status of panchayats in the state, there are 27 positions for district panchayat heads, out of which 15 are reserved for women. Similarly, out of a total of 402 posts, 223 are reserved for women. Furthermore, out of 146 district council head positions, 90 are reserved for women, and out of 2,973 district council member positions, 1,595 are reserved for women.

In total, there are 170,358 positions in panchayats in the state, with 93,392 reserved for women. In the urban bodies, 33 per cent of the positions are reserved for women. The state government had previously agreed to increase women’s reservation to 50 per cent.

Looking at the current situation in the legislative assembly, there are a total of 90 assembly seats, with 16 women MLAs. Similarly, out of 11 Lok Sabha seats, three are held by women, while three of the Rajya Sabha seats are also held by women.

The state is just about 23 years old, but efforts have been made to provide more representation to women. During the Raman government, a decision was made to reserve 33 per cent seats in urban bodies for women, while the Bhupesh Baghel government agreed to increase it to 50 per cent. Moreover, 60 per cent of the women are currently leading the villages’ administration in the state.

With the Women’s Reservation Bill now passed, new hope has arisen among the women of this region. Its implementation will not only change the political landscape of the state but also lead to 30 out of 90 women MLAs and four out of 11 women Lok Sabha MPs.

At the panchayat level, although women are elected as representatives, the majority of decisions in most panchayats are made by their husbands or male relatives. Women on reserved seats often cannot make decisions for themselves. This is the reason why the state government has repeatedly instructed that women should have a say in the decisions.

According to analysts, it is not that the women in this region are lagging behind in decision-making, but there is a need to educate them about their rights and provide them with training. Such initiatives could bring about a positive change in the situation. (IANS)


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