After making necessary amendments to the Panchayat Raj laws, the Odisha government has issued guidelines for reservation of seats in the three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
Principal Secretary of Panchayati Raj and drinking water department, A.K. Meena has issued the guidelines and asked all collectors to complete the reservation process by October end. The tenure of elected rural bodies in Odisha will end in February, 2022.
The guidelines were issued for reservation of seats for ward members, Panchayat Samiti (PS) members, Zilla Parishad (ZP) members and reservation of offices of Sarpanch, PS chairperson and ZP president in conformity with appropriate provisions under amended Odisha Gram Panchayat Act, 1964, Odisha Panchayat Samiti Act, 1959 and Odisha Zilla Parishad Act, 1991 and PESA Act, 1996.
In non-scheduled areas, the total reservation of seats in favour of SC, ST and Backward Class of Citizens (BCC) shall be kept within 50 per cent of the total seats and the reservation for BCC, which may vary, shall be kept within 27 per cent of the total seats, as per the guidelines.
Up to 27 per cent of total seats will be reserved in favour of BCC category and whenever necessary, the quantum of reservation for BCC will be reduced to such extent as required to limit the total reservation of seats in favour of SC, ST and BCC taken together within 50 per cent, without affecting the reservation provided to SC & ST.
Reservation of seats in the scheduled areas will be in proportion to the population of the communities in the concerned Panchayat. Provided that the reservation for the Scheduled Tribe will not be less than 50 per cent the total numbers of STs.
The population percentage of SC and ST people in the respective GP/Block/District will be taken as per the 2011 Census.
While determining the reservation status of various seats/offices of PRIs for general election to the PRIs, 2022, the principle of rotation in descending order will be followed taking into account the reservation status of the last PRI Elections held in 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017.
As per the guidelines, after reservation of seats of SC, ST and BCC categories, reservation for women will be made after arranging the ward/GP/constituencies in Odia alphabetical order, in the manner as provided in Panchayat laws so that the total reservation for women will not be less than one-half of the total seats/offices.
While starting the process of reservation, first preference will be given to SC, then ST, BCC on third and women on last.