In this article, we will discuss the PESA Act 1996 in a simple and easy way, and try to understand its various important aspects. This article is a part of Panchayati Raj system, before understanding it, definitely understand that Panchayati system.
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PESA Act 1996
Background of PESA Act 1996
In 1992, the Indian Parliament passed the historic 73rd Amendment Act to the Constitution, under which a third level of representative government was created.
Two forms of representative government, center and state already existed, through this constitutional amendment a third level was added which is called Panchayati Raj system. A new Eleventh Schedule was also made in the constitution to give place to its executive area etc.
But the question was, what will happen to the tribes or the tribals with all these arrangements? Because the part 9 of the constitution related to panchayats does not apply to the areas mentioned in the fifth schedule of the constitution.
If the concept of modern development going on in India has affected any community the most, then it is the tribal or tribal society of this country. Continuous eviction from their water-forest-land has progressively increased the woes of the tribals’ lives.
Due to the increasing public discontent and pressure on the government due to this injustice and atrocities being done to the tribals, the Parliament passed the Panchayat Provisions (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act in December 1996 and made necessary changes and exceptions according to the special situation and needs of the tribes. With this, Part IX of the Constitution was extended to the Scheduled Areas of the Fifth Schedule. Hence it is also called as Extension Act .
So overall the PESA Act 1996 (PESA Act 1996) handed over the reins of power and development in his hands while maintaining the customs, traditions and lifestyle of the tribals.
The tribal areas were independent even before independence. There, there was no British rule and administration. These areas were then classified as excluded and partially excluded. After independence in 1947, when the constitution came into force in 1950, these areas were classified in the 5th and 6th schedules.
The areas which were completely excluded were included in the Sixth Schedule. In which there are four states of North East – Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and Mizoram. And the British did not interfere in the partially excluded areas, those areas were included in the 5th schedule. It includes ten states, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
At present this act is applicable in these 10 states (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Rajasthan).
Objectives of PESA Act 1996
1. Extending Part 9 of the Constitution (which deals with the Panchayati Raj system) to the Scheduled Areas and clarifying the points of autonomy of the tribes, which the states do not have the power to violate.
2. To provide self-government to the tribal population, to develop appropriate administrative set up in compliance with the traditional practices and to make the Gram Sabha the center of all activities.
3. To equip the Panchayats at appropriate levels with specific powers according to the needs of the tribal people and prevent the higher level Panchayats from snatching away the powers and powers of the lower level Gram Sabha.
Features of PESA Act
1. The law made by the State Legislature on Panchayats in tribal or tribal areas shall be in conformity with the customary laws, customs, religious practices etc.
2. Here village would mean a dwelling place or a group of habitations or a tola or a group of tolas of a community living according to its traditions and customs.
3. There shall be a Gram Sabha in each village consisting of such persons whose names appear in the electoral rolls for the Panchayat at the village level.
4. Every Gram Sabha shall be competent to protect and preserve the traditions and customs, socio-cultural identity, community resources and traditional methods of dispute resolution, of itself and of its people.
5. Before implementing the programs and projects of social and economic development by the Gram Panchayat, approval has to be taken from the Gram Sabha.
6. The communities in respect of which there are provisions for reservation under Part 9 of the Constitution, shall be given reservation in proportion to their population in each Panchayat of the Scheduled Areas. But there is also a condition that the reservation of scheduled tribes will not be less than 50% of the total seats and the posts of chairpersons at all levels of panchayats will be reserved for scheduled tribes.
7. The Scheduled Tribes who are not represented in the Intermediate level Panchayat or District level Panchayat shall be nominated by the Government. But the number of nominated members shall not exceed 1/10th of the total number of elected members in the Panchayat.
8. Gram Sabha or Panchayat of the appropriate level will be consulted before land acquisition for the development project in these areas. Along with this, before the rehabilitation of the people affected by these projects in these areas, the Gram Sabha or Panchayat of the appropriate level will be consulted.
9. The responsibility of planning and management for minor water sources in these areas will be given to the appropriate level Panchayat.
10. It will be mandatory to get the recommendation of Gram Sabha or Panchayat of appropriate level for obtaining license related to mining of minerals at small level in notified areas.
11. In order to enable Panchayats to function as self-government institutions in the Scheduled Areas, the State Legislatures shall ensure that the Panchayats and Gram Sabhas at the appropriate level are
(a) have the right to prohibit or regulate the sale or consumption of any intoxicating substance.
(b) There will be ownership of forest produce on a small scale.
(c) Power to manage village haat-bazaars.
(d) have the power to control the process of lending money to the Scheduled Tribes.
(e) Will have the power to exercise control over the institutions and functionaries working in all social sectors.
12. The State Legislature shall make such a system so as to ensure that the Panchayats at the higher level cannot infringe upon the rights of any Panchayat or Gram Sabha at the lower level.
13. The State Legislature will follow the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution while making administrative arrangements at the district level in the Scheduled Areas.
Act related problems
The PESA Act provides for a Gram Sabha in each village, whereas we know that in many cases a Gram Panchayat is elected by more than one Gram Sabha. In such a situation, if the opinion of different gram sabhas is different on any subject, then how will the final decision be taken.
The power given to the Gram Sabha in respect of minor forest products is also limited because it has been provided by the administrative officers that a Gram Sabha can claim its rights on the products of the same forest area which is within its revenue limits. comes within.
As we have read above that this Act is applicable only to those areas which are described in Schedule 5, so the Scheduled Tribes of other states which are less in number; Can’t take advantage of this law.
Apart from this, problems of Naxalism etc. are also seen in such areas which hinder the pace of development.
Although an attempt was made to amend it in 2013 to find the flaws of the PESA Act and make it right, but it did not succeed.
So overall this is PESA Act 1996, hope you have understood. Be sure to read other related articles as well.
PDf – https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1996-40.pdf
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Types of Urban Local Self-Government
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