Dear EditorAs per World Bank report (2017) Indian women constitute 48.18% of total country’s population. Inspite of sharing such a huge percentage, our women community has not been enjoying any firm representation in political system since long. But now after 73 years of independence central BJP Govt. in a welcome step, has given 1/3rd reservation to rural women in panchayat elections.Under this amendment in Panchayat Raj Act 1989 provisions contained in Article 243D of Indian Constitution, 1/3rd of seats of Panchayati Raj Institution and 1/3rd offices of chairperson at all levels of Panchayati Raj Institutions, covered by part 9 of constitution, are reserved for women. In addition to this, some states like Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jarkhand, Orrisa, Kerala, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Maharastra have raised this reservation from 1/3rd to 50% so that more rural women can be empowered.This historic step has opened innumerable new fields for women thereby bringing revolution in the Indian political system by bringing their innovative ideas into action. This reservation has empowered rural women in real sense. Now an elected woman village head will possess power as well as funds in her hands to bring development, prosperity, modernisation, advancement, growth, safes secure atmosphere in her village. She can move a step forward and generate employment for underprivileged women of village. It is only a woman sarpanch, who can understand the social and economic problems of women of her village. An exploited woman would feel more comfortable in disclosing her problem to a female Sarpanch than a male Sarpanch. A female village head can start training centres in village which can train many housewives with numerous skills to earn their livelihood. Different central social welfare and awareness programmes can be started by female village head for the betterment of underprivileged, exploited and socially backwards womenfolk in particular and whole village in general.But friends, all the above changes can be brought in a village only and only when our elected female Sarpanch would be educated, prudent, strong, daring, hardworking and intelligent enough to take decision for the betterment and welfare of village. She must never be over pressurised or over influenced by relations like husband, father, brother or remaining patrairchal society. In addition to this, a village head must also be fully aware of her rights and responsibility. She must not become puppet in the hands of maledominated society. Otherwise, this historic move of women reservation in panchayat polls will remain confine to papers only and goal of women empowerment would never be achieved and female folk would continue to live a dependent, suppressed and exploited life ever and ever after.Sunaina Malik,Rajouri.
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