In a historic initiative to empower women at the grassroots level, the government has reserved 108 posts of heads for women in block development councils (BDCs) across the state.
Of the 314 BDCs in the state, 108 have been reserved for women, including those belong to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to politically empower the marginalised section of society.
Although the schedule is yet to be announced, the authorities have initiated the process to hold the BDC elections for the first time in J&K. Before announcing the schedule, the authorities have issued a notice for draft proposal for reservation for SC, STs and women.
The rural development department has issued a notification is this regard and objections have been sought from the public on the draft proposal. The draft proposal has been made in pursuance of the provisions of Section 27(3) of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, amended up to October, 2018.
According to the draft proposal, of the 147 BDCs of Jammu province, 53 have been reserved for women. Similarly in the Kashmir Valley, of the 136 BDCs, 45 have been reserved for women. In the Ladakh division, 10 of the 31 BDCs have been reserved for women.
The panchayat elections were held in J&K in November and December 2018 after the imposition of President’s rule in the state. Despite repeated assurances, the democratic governments have failed to decentralise power at the grassroots level.
Electoral college of panches, sarpanches
- Section 27 of the J&K Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 1989, provides for constitution of a block development council (BDC) for every block. Every BDC would have a chairperson and members
- The chairperson of the BDC would be elected by the electoral college comprising panches and sarpanches of the halqa panchayat falling within the block