Nagaland: First female legislators welcome new Municipal Act
From left: Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu

Kohima: As the Nagaland government passed the new Municipal Act with 33% reservation for women, the state’s first female legislators-Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu welcomed new Act which reserves 33% seat for women in Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

Speaking to a section of journalists after the passing of the Act, Nagaland’s first woman minister Salhoutuonuo Kruse said, “Today is a momentous day for our people in Nagaland. This remarkable achievement signifies a significant leap towards attaining gender equality and empowerment in our municipality”.

The minister for women resources development and horticulture said that the enactment of the Nagaland Municipal Bill 2023 serves as a testament to the unwavering dedication of the present government led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in promoting women’s involvement in decision-making and securing their representation in local governance.

“The decision reached in the State Assembly today is a reaffirmation of our unwavering belief in equal rights and opportunities for all, fostering an inclusive and forward-thinking society. We owe this triumph to the tireless endeavors and advocacy of various women’s organizations, activists, and particularly the support of our male counterparts who have vigorously championed for gender equality and increased representation in governance,” she said.

She hoped that people of Nagaland will create an environment that encourages women to engage in politics, support their growth in leadership, and ensure active women participation in the decision-making processes for the betterment of the community.

As for Hekani Jakhalu, advisor to industries and commerce, the passing of the new Act was an emotional moment. “Finally the time is here. I am extremely excited. When the Bill was passed in the Assembly, I felt very emotional. The timing is perfect that when I am in the Assembly, a historical Bill is passed. Now, it is an opportunity for women to excel, be at par, and show the world that we have arrived. I know that this will also help the whole agenda of women-led development because there are issues which only women understand and women comprise 50% of the population. So, it is important that we understand the issues and causes of women. The future is bright now,” she said.

As she interacted with a section of reporters, she thanked the men folk for making way for the Act. “It took a long time to come to this position but because it was a very sensitive issue which involved our customs and traditions, it was also difficult but eventually, all the men in the leadership position have taken the decision to support the Bill and the time for women to be part of the decision making body, a salute to them all,” she added.

While the reservation for women to the post of chairperson was not included in the new Act, Jakhulu said that women should be contended with what is decided at the moment.

“We should be happy that we got into the system. Eventually, we will get to be chairperson and deputy chairperson if we perform. At this point of time, I think our women folk should also just take each day as it comes, accept what the government has passed and good days are ahead of us,” she added.

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Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio while speaking to reporters after the one-day emergent session said that if any organisation or tribal body has any doubt with the new Act, the government will make them understand and bring take everyone onboard.  

When asked about the conduct of the ULB election, he said that the process has just started. Once it is notified, he informed that the electoral roll and other election process will take place.

The Nagaland Municipal Bill 2023 was passed during a one-day emergent session of the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

Also Read | Nagaland passes new Municipal Act with 33% women quota

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