The Assam Assembly has passed two bills to reserve 50 per cent of seats for women for 10 years on a rotational basis in constituencies of the civic bodies in the state.

As per the Assam Municipal (Third Amendment) Bill, 2021, 50 per cent of the total number of seats to be filled up by direct election, including those reserved for women belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, in any municipality will be reserved for women.

Such seats will be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a municipality every 10 years, as per the amendment to the Assam Municipal Act, 1956.

“The step to provide reservation for a ward for 10 years will encourage women to participate in the democratic process of election and will enable them to bring sustainability to schemes implemented by the urban local bodies,” Urban Development Minister Ashok Singhal told a news agency.

The Assembly also passed The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which extends the tenure of women reservation for up to 10 years in the direct election of its councillors.

The amendments to the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Act, 1969, also seeks to levy stricter penal provisions for violations committed under the Act as most of the provisions for penalty do not serve as deterrents for violators now.

It also seeks to give powers to the government to increase the number of wards of GMC as and when required by publication in the official gazette. In another amendment bill moved by Singhal, it has been proposed that the state government can appoint the chief engineer of the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) from not below the rank of superintending engineer (civil) of any department under it.

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