Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act,1996 (PESA)

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Mandate of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj

The mandate of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) is to oversee the implementation of Part IX of the Constitution, the provision regarding District Planning Committee as per Article 243ZD in Part IXA and the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) in the Fifth Schedule Areas.

Constitutional Provisions with regard to Panchayati Raj System in the Country 

The Constitution (Seventy-Third Amendment) Act, 1992, which came into force w.e.f. 24th April, 1993, inserted Part IX in the Constitution of India and accorded Panchayats a Constitutional status as institutions of local self-governance for rural India. 
Article 243M (1) of the Constitution exempts Scheduled Areas and tribal areas referred to in Clause (1) and (2) of article 244 from application of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution.  However, article 243M (4) (b) empowers the Parliament to legislate and extend the provisions of Part IX to Scheduled Areas and tribal areas referred to in clause (1), subject to such exceptions and modifications as may be specified in such law and no such law shall be deemed to be an amendment of the Constitution for the purpose of article 368. 

Fifth Schedule Areas

The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the administration and control of Scheduled Areas as well as of Scheduled Tribes residing in any State other than the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.  “The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996” (PESA), extends Part IX of the Constitution with certain modifications and exceptions, to the Fifth Schedule Areas notified under article 244(1) of the Constitution.  At present, Fifth Schedule Areas exist in 10 States viz. Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana. 

Definition of Village and Gram Sabha

Under the PESA Act, {section 4 (b)}, a village shall ordinarily consist of a habitation or a group of habitations or a hamlet or a group of hamlets comprising a community and managing its affairs in accordance with traditions and customs.
Under the PESA Act, {section 4 (c)}, every village shall have a Gram Sabha consisting of persons whose names are included in the electoral rolls for the Panchayat at the village level.

PESA exclusively empowers Gram Sabha to

safeguard and preserve the (a) traditions and customs of the people, and their cultural identity, (b) community resources, and (c) customary mode of dispute resolution
  (ii) carry out executive functions to
(a)   approve plans, programmes and projects for social and economic development;
(b)   identify persons as beneficiaries under the poverty alleviation and other programmes;
(c)   issue a certificate of utilisation of funds by the Panchayat for the plans; programmes and projects
PESA empowers Gram Sabha/ Panchayat at appropriate level with

  • right to mandatory consultation in land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced persons                                      
  • panchayat at an appropriate level is entrusted with planning and management of minor water bodies
  • mandatory recommendations by Gram Sabha or Panchayat at appropriate level for prospective licenses/lease for mines and concession for the exploitation of minor minerals
  • regulate sale/consumption of intoxicants
  • ownership of minor forest produce
  • prevent land alienation and restore alienated land
  • manage village markets
  • control over money lending to STs
  • control over institutions and functionaries in social sector, local plans including Tribal sub plans and resources.

Importance of PESA

Effective implementation of PESA will not only bring development but will also deepen democracy in Fifth Schedule Areas. There are many benefits of PESA.
1- It will enhance people’s participation in decision making.

2- PESA will reduce alienation in tribal areas as they will have better control over the utilisation of public resources.

3- PESA will reduce poverty and out-migration among tribal population as they will have control and management of natural resources will improve their livelihoods and incomes.

4- PESA will minimise exploitation of tribal population as they will be able to control and manage money lending, consumption and sale of liquor and also village markets.

5- Effective implementation of PESA will check illegal land alienation and also restore unlawfully alienated tribal land.

6- And most importantly PESA will promote cultural heritage through preservation of traditions, customs and cultural identity of tribal population.

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