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

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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.

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