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PESA ACT 1996

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Polity: Local Self Government

 

Source: Indian Express, Times of India

Context: Chhattisgarh has implemented Panchayats (extension to the scheduled area) or PESA Rules 2022.  Also, recently a political party unveiled a six-point “guarantee” for tribals, including the “strict implementation” of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act

Direction: Make a separate note on PESA, it is important for both Prelims and Mains.

About PESA Rules 2022

  • Chhattisgarh’s PESA Rules mandate that 50% of the members of the Gram Sabha are from Tribal communities (of which 25% will be female members). For PESA Act to be effective, it is important that Rules be framed by the states.
  • Status: Out of 10 states (Andhra, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, HP, Jharkhand, MP, Maharastra, Odisha, and Rajasthan) who have notified 5th Schedule Areas, only 7 states (including Chhattisgarh and Gujarat) have notified Rules to implement the PESA Act.
    • States coming in the 6th Scheduled are: Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram (remember as ‘AMTM’)

 

What is PESA Act 1996?

  • It extends the provisions of Panchayats (Part IX of the constitution) to the Fifth Schedule Areas. These areas have a huge tribal population.
  • It ensures self-governmance through Gram Sabhas (village assemblies) for people living in the Scheduled Areas.

Background:

The 73rd constitutional amendment (19992) gave shape to a three-tier Panchayati Raj Institution, however, its application to the scheduled and tribal areas under Article 243(M) was restricted.

  • It was after the Bhuria Committee recommendations in 1995 that PESA Act 1996 came into existence.

 Powers provided to Gram Sabha under PESA:

  • Developmental related Power: consultation before the land acquisition, prevent land alienation, power to enforce prohibition, prior approval of all developmental projects and control over tribal sub-plan, maintenance of cultural identity and tradition, control over schemes affecting the tribals etc.
  • Judicial powers: Dispute resolution as per traditional laws and customs: the collective resolution of disputes on the basis of customs, traditional laws and religious beliefs of tribal areas.
  • Ownership and management of natural resources: E.g. water, forest, common lands (‘Jal, Jangal, and Zameen’), minor forest produce, minor minerals, etc.
    • Minor Forest Produce: It has been defined under FRA 2006, as those including all nontimber forest produce of plant origin, including bamboo, brushwood, stumps, cane, tussar, etc.

Issues Related to PESA:

The state governments are supposed to enact state laws for their Scheduled Areas in consonance with this national law. This has resulted in the partially implemented PESA.

  • The partial implementation has worsened self-governance in Adivasi areas, like in Jharkhand.
  • Many experts have asserted that PESA did not deliver due to the lack of clarity, legal infirmity, bureaucratic apathy, absence of a political will, resistance to change in the hierarchy of power, and so on.
  • As per Social audits conducted across the state, In reality, different developmental schemes were being approved on paper by Gram Sabha, without actually having any meeting for discussion and decision making.

 

Insta Links

PESA ACT

 

Mains Link

Q. The PESA Act is considered to be the backbone of tribal legislation in India, in this backdrop do you think the proper implementation of it can rejuvenate self-governance in the tribal pockets of the country? Analyse. (15M)

 

Prelims Link

The Government enacted the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act in 1996. Which one of the following is not identified as its objective?

(a) To provide self-governance

(b) To recognize traditional rights

(c) To create autonomous regions in tribal areas

(d) To free tribal people from exploitation

Answer: C

The establishment and functions of most of the autonomous councils are based on the 6th Schedule.

Q.Consider the following statements and answer the question below

    1. It was after the Virginus Xaxa Committee recommendations in 1995 that PESA Act 1996 came into existence.
    2. PESA Act is legislation that extends the provisions of Panchayats to the Fifth Schedule Areas.
    3. State governments are expected to amend their respective Panchayati Raj Acts without making any law that would be inconsistent with the mandate of PESA.

Which of the following statements are true?
a) 1 and 2                                             b) 2 and 3
c) Only 2                                              d) 1, 2 and 3

 Answer: B

PESA act was passed on recommendations of the Bhuria Committee. State governments are expected to amend their respective Panchayati Raj Acts without making any law that would be inconsistent with the mandate of PESA.