ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reservation for Women in Panchayats: A Sop in Disguise?

The decision by the union cabinet to raise reservation for women from one-third to 50% of seats at all three levels of panchayats is a welcome one. However, this decision was taken without addressing the problems caused by mandatory rotation of reserved seats, which women have been drawing attention to and the impasse over the Women's Reservation Bill remains. The latter in particular suggests that the 50% reservation in panchayats is a sop to cover up the government's inability to ensure reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures.

Law of Two-Child Norm in Panchayats

The 73rd constitutional amendment assured hitherto marginalised and poorly represented groups an opportunity of political representation in local self-government bodies. The introduction of the two-child norm, however, has been double-edged in its implications. This paper presents the findings of a field study across five states where the two-child qualification norm has been implemented in local bodies. It reveals the dichotomy that exists at higher policy-making levels where this measure is seen as conducive and exemplary in view of the need to raise small families while at grassroot levels the perception is widespread that the norm is coercive in its impact. More powerful classes and castes have been better able to circumvent the provisions of this norm; women too have become its unintentional victims. The introduction of this norm should have proceeded in tandem with other much needed measures of upliftment in backward areas, such as education, health care and the provision of counselling facilities.

State Welfare Policy and Women, 1950-1975

The country began its efforts at nation-building with the adoption of national planning immediately after the new Constitution was adopted. An important component of the plans was the welfare policies which were evolved progressively and incorporated into the planning process. This paper examines the state welfare policy as enunciated in the five-year plans and their implementation to understand how, if at all they have benefited women.
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