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Empowering the Constitutional Provisions for Vulnerable

  • Published
    21st Jul, 2022
Context

India may get its first Adivasi President in Droupadi Murmu, her political rise from a Panchayat post to that of Presidential candidate is a success story.

Background
  • Empowerment of women in all spheres and in particular the political sphere is crucial for their advancement and for the foundation of gender equal society.
  • It is central to the goals of equality, development and peace.
  • The Indian democracy which is more than half a century old has entered the next century. But a large mass of women are kept out of political arena still.
  • There can be no true democracy, or no true people’s participation in governance and development without equal and proportional participation of men and women at different levels of decision making.
  • Participation of women in political life is integral to the advancement of women. 
  • But PRIs has changed the definition in terms of women empowerment and hence make them more inclusive in the political sphere.

Key points

  • Her nomination as the National Democratic Alliance’s presidential candidate happened in concurrence with the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act.
  • The Act came into effect April 24, 1993.
  • It empowered state governments to take the necessary steps that would lead to the formalisation of Gram Panchayats and help them operate as units of self-governance.
  • DroupadiMurmuwas born in Odisha’s revenue village Uparbeda, dominated by Adivasis.
  • She was elected as a Ward Sabha councillor in 1997.
  • She was also elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly in 2000 while serving as a PRI official in a Rairangpur Nagar panchayat.
  • She has been elected to the Assembly twice.
  • Then she served as the Governor of Jharkhand from May 8, 2015 to July 12, 2021.
  • Murmu and a few other women politicians who started their political career from Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) and reached Parliament or legislative assemblies.

Panchayati Raj Institutions

  • Balwant Rai Mehta was a parliamentarian who is credited for pioneering the concept of the Panchayati Raj in India and was also known as the ‘Father of Panchayati Raj’.
  • The primary objective of establishing the third tier of the government (PRI) is to increase democratic participation,to better articulate local needs and priorities, and to ensure a more efficient use of local resources along with greater accountability and transparency.

Significance of PRIs in India

  • Panchayati Raj institutes village local government that plays a significant role in the development of villages especially in areas like primary education, health, agricultural developments, women and child development and women participation in local government, etc.

What are the features of Panchayati Raj?

  • Gram Sabha: Gram Sabha is the primary body of the Panchayati Raj system. It is a village assembly consisting of all the registered voters within the area of the panchayat.
  • Three Tier system: village, intermediate and district levels.
  • Election of members and chairperson: The members to all the levels of the Panchayati Raj are elected directly and the chairpersons to the intermediate and the district levels are elected indirectly.

Benefits for Women Empowerment in PRIs

  • Reservation of seats
  • Local representation
  • Ground level development of women issues ie. In Rural India.

Some other Women politicians who excel their political Journey

  • JothimaniSennimalai- Tamil Nadu
  • Phulo Devi Netam- Chhattisgarh
  • SulataDeo- Odhisa
  • Rekha Devi- Bihar
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