In a historic development, the Uttarakhand Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill reserving 50 percent seats for women in the three-tier Panchayati Raj system.
The Uttarakhand Panchayat Law (Amendment) Bill, 2008, tabled in the House on Monday, was approved by the Vidhan Sabha by a voice vote.
The legislation envisaged reserving 50 percent seats for women in the Panchayati Raj system for two consecutive terms, Panchayati Raj Minister Bishan Singh Chufal said.
The bill was brought to give more powers to women at the grassroot level to enable them to participate in the decision-making process, he told the House.
Uttarakhand would become the first state in the country to provide 50 percent reservation for women in all the three tiers of the Panchayati Raj system after the enactment of the legislation, the Minister said.
The seats would be reserved for women for two successive terms, he said.
Several social organisations hailed the passage of the bill terming the development as a victory for women.
"This is a big victory for women in Uttarakhand," said Avdhash Kaushal, Chairperson of RLEK, a Dehra Dun-based NGO working for empowerment of women in the country.
Dr Anil Joshi, who heads HESCO, a Dehra Dun-based social organisation, also welcomed the move.
The measure would enable women to participate in the decision-making process effectively, he said.