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Venkaiah advocates 50% women’s quota in legislatures

Hyderabad, Feb 16 (INN): Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu has said that the Central Government was working on mandating 50 per cent reservation for women in all the urban local bodies of the country, to promote their participation in urban policy making for developing ‘engendered cities’.

Venkaiah Naidu spoke of the need for imparting gender perspective to designing urban policies and programmes while inaugurating a two day ‘International Conference on Gender and Urban Poverty’ in New Delhi on Monday. The Conference is jointly organized by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and the Department For International Development (DFID) of UK.

Venkaiah Naidu further said that his ministry has already held consultations with states on 50% reservation for women in urban local bodies through an amendment to the Constitution. Speaking about the need for reservation for women in the Parliament and State Legislatures, he said that the central government seeks to build a consensus in this regard.

Stating that, “Women are more vulnerable to the harshness of urban inequities and they struggle more in terms of job security, pay parity, access to credit, suitability of working conditions, access to safe water, education and healthcare, housing etc.,” Naidu stressed on the need for urban policies to be guided by women’s perspectives.

The Minister said that ‘gender sensitivity is all about acknowledging and being responsive to the different roles of women and men in the development of human settlements and their differential needs and addressing them through policy and institutional mechanisms’.

Speaking about the central government’s gender sensitive initiatives, Naidu said that under the Housing for All scheme, joint ownership of houses to be built will be promoted besides giving over riding preference to women headed households, single women under different components like Credit Linked Subsidy, Rental Housing etc.,

Voicing concern over safety of women in urban areas, Naidu said that the government is focusing on promoting quality and reliable public transport under various schemes. He said that over one crore household toilets will be constructed in urban areas under Swachh Bharat Mission which on a conservative estimate will benefit over two crore women daily.

Naidu said that the Government is keen to promote ‘engendered cities’ with the objective of welfare of women through their participation.

Dr. Nandita Chatterjee, Secretary (HUPA) said that urban women are susceptible to residential, occupational and social vulnerabilities and an effort is being made to improve the skill and asset base of urban women to improve their livelihood opportunities.

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