In a bid to empower every women in the country, the Union Government has planned to formulate a law aiming to reserve 50 per cent of the seats in rural and urban local bodies for women.

The women’s reservation bill, which is a constitutional amendment, first introduced in 1996 if passed this year would reserve half of the seats of the rural and urban local bodies which include gram panchayats, panchayat samitis, zilla parishads, municipal corporations, municipal councils and nagar panchayats.

However, most of the states supported by the local legislation have already adopted the law of 50% reservation of seats for women in the rural and urban local bodies but it is yet to be passed at the national level. Although, earlier the bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010, but did not get the consent of the Loksabha and lapsed when the house was dissolved.
Bihar was the first state to reserve 50% seats for women in local bodies. Bihar passed a bill in 2005, even before the Union government decided to amend Article 243(D) to make it mandatory for all states to reserve 50% seats for women in rural local bodies. After Bihar, many states reserved 50% seats for women in urban and rural local bodies including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Currently, the reservation of women in local bodies is 33% and initiatives are being drawn to extend it to 50% at the national level which will definitely boost the participation of women in the political sphere as well as will make them self sufficient and self-dependent.