Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996

It is a law enacted by Government of India to cover the “Scheduled Areas”, which are not covered in the 73rd Constitutional amendment. This particular act extends the provisions of Part IX to the Scheduled Areas of the country. PESA brought powers further down to the Gram Sabha level. The Gram Sabha in the Panchayat Act were entrusted with wide ranging powers starting from consultation on land acquisition to that of ownership over minor forest produces and leasing of minor minerals.

Under the PESA, the Gram Sabha or Panchayats at appropriate level shall have the following powers:

  • To be consulted on matters of land acquisition and resettlement.
  • Grant prospecting license for mining lease for minor minerals and concessions for such activities.
  • Planning and management of minor water bodies.
  • The power to enforce prohibition or to regulate or restrict the sale and consumption of any intoxicant.
  • The ownership of minor forest produces.
  • The power to prevent alienation of land and to restore any unlawfully alienated land of a scheduled tribe.
  • The power to manage village markets.
  • The power to exercise control over money lending to scheduled tribes.