The Punjab government has decided to drop the proposal to prescribe matriculation as the minimum qualification and not more than two-child norm, on the Haryana pattern, for candidates contesting the elections for Panchyati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

The rural development and panchayats minister, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, on Saturday said the proposal for minimum qualification and two-child norm had been dropped for the time being as there was no consensus during extensive deliberations.

He said the exercise had been initiated to have broader discussion after this issue was taken up in the state cabinet. It was after consulting experts and stakeholders in the PRIs poll that it had been decided to first create awareness on such vital issues, Bajwa added.

The minister said the forthcoming elections of PRIs in the state would be held under the existing act provisions, rules and regulations.

He disclosed the delimitation of wards was in the final stage and these elections would be held in two phases as earlier. Elections to the Block Samitis and Zila Parishads would be held in the first phase followed by that of Panchayat Panches and Sarpanches.

The two phases would be separated by about a month, Bajwa said. He said 50 per cent seats would be reserved for women as per the legislation adopted during the last Assembly session.

Neighbouring Haryana had amended the Panchayati Raj Act in September 2015, fixing the minimum qualification for contesting PRI elections.

Haryana had made matriculation mandatory for general candidates contesting PRI polls and Class VIII for women (general) and scheduled caste candidates.

A minimum qualification of Class V pass was fixed for women belonging to SC category contesting for the post of panch.