The cabinet approved amendments to the Odisha Municipal Corporation Act, 2003, Odisha Municipal Act, 1950, and Odisha Zila Parishad Act, 1991, to introduce anti-defection provisions to disqualify members, including Independents, who switched political alliances after getting elected.

"For strengthening urban local governance, it is proposed to provide for necessary legal provisions to prohibit defection by elected members of urban local bodies from political parties which chose them as candidates," said Chief Secretary G.C. Pati.

"The cabinet decided on disqualification of such elected members, subject to certain exceptions like mergers and splits," said Pati. Elections to municipal bodies and zila parishads in Odisha are fought on party lines.  The government also approved amendment to the Odisha District Planning Committee Act, 1998, that would enable 50 percent reservation for women among elected members in the district planning committees (DPCs).

As many as 80 percent DPC members are elected from among zila parishad members and councillors/corporators of municipalities, notified area committees and municipal corporations. The remaining are nominated by the government. The amendment also provides for a minister or an MLA from the district to be nominated as chairman of DPC to facilitate timely conduct of meetings.

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