Family planning, minimum literacy will be must to contest Uttarakhand panchayat polls

Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand

Dehradun। The Uttarakhand Assembly passed a bill today barring people having more than two children from contesting the panchayat elections. It has also fixed a minimum qualification for them.

The Uttarakhand Panchayat Raj Act 2016 (Amendment) Bill passed today by a voice vote amid acrimonious scenes by opposition members over various issues, including the “deteriorating” law and order situation in the hill state.

The bill is expected to get the Governor’s approval before the panchayat elections, scheduled for later this year.

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Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Kaushik said the purpose of the bill was to promote family planning and also determine a minimum educational qualification for the candidates.

“We have fixed the educational qualification of all panchayat members. In the general category, the minimum qualification is Class 10. In the SC/ST categories, the minimum qualification is Class 8 for men and Class 5 for women,” he said.

The bill also prohibits holding of two offices simultaneously by any panchayat member.

“This is a reformist bill. It should be seen as an effort to reform the grassroots bodies,” said Kaushik, adding that the bill was mooted on the lines of a similar legislation in states like Odisha and Rajasthan.