The Andhra Pradesh government is initiating steps to provide 50 per cent reservation for women in elected local bodies. A policy decision in this connection has been taken by the state government and this will improve the representation of women in Panchayat Raj and urban local bodies from the existing 33 per cent to 50 per cent.
These reservations will be provided horizontally (each category of reservation – SC, ST and BC as also the general category -- will have 50 per cent reservation for women). According to AP Panchayat Raj Act, the reservation provided for women is ‘not less than one-third’.
The new rules will increase this to 50 per cent and this will apply to all elected positions in the Gram Panchayat, Mandal Praja Parishad and chairman Zilla Praja Parishad.
States including Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh already have 50 per cent reservations for women in local bodies.
There are almost a million active women self-help groups (SHGs) in the state of over 10 million rural and urban women. The government has drawn up plans to make appreciable improvement of income of 10 million SHG members in the next four years by enabling them to take up self-employment activities with credit linkage, according to a government release on Sunday.