Magazine

English Hindi

Index

Prelims Capsule

Polity

What is PESA Act? Chhattisgarh Govt starts process of framing rules to implement PESA

What is PESA Act? Chhattisgarh Govt starts process of framing rules to implement PESA

Relevance:

  • GS 2 || Polity || Local Government || Panchayati Raj

Why in news?

Chhattisgarh Govt starts process of framing rules to implement PESA

All about PESA Act

About PESA Act 1996:

  • The 73rd constitutional amendment was passed in 1992 to encourage local self-governance in rural India.
  • A three-tiered Panchayati Raj Institution was established as a result of this change.
  • However, under Article 243(M), it was limited in its application to scheduled and tribal territories.
  • PESA Act 1996 was enacted in response to the Bhuria Committee’s recommendations in 1995, enabling tribal self-rule for those residing in India’s scheduled territories.
  • The Centre legislated PESA to ensure self-governance for people residing in scheduled regions through gram sabhas (village assemblies).
  • It recognises the legal right of tribal communities and residents of scheduled regions to govern themselves through their own self-government systems.
  • It recognises their traditional ownership of natural resources.

Various Committees regarding Panchayati Raj

  • Balwant Rai Mehta Committee & Panchayati Raj:
  • The Committee’s Recommendations:
    • Gram Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti, and Zila Parishad are the three levels of the Panchayati Raj system.
    • The gramme panchayat is made up of directly elected delegates, while the Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad are made up of indirectly elected representatives.
    • The Panchayati Raj system’s core goals are planning and development.
    • The executive body should be the Panchayat Samiti, while the advisory and supervisory body should be the Zila Parishad.
    • The chairperson of the Zila Parishad will be the District Collector.
    • It also asked for resources to assist them in carrying out their tasks and responsibilities.
    • The Balwant Rai Mehta Committee revitalised panchayat development in the country, recommending that Panchayati Raj institutions may play a significant role in community development programmes across the country.
    • On October 2nd, 1959, Rajasthan became the first state to implement this democratic decentralisation strategy.
    • The plan was first implemented in Andhra Pradesh on November 1, 1959. Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, and Punjab, among others, have passed and implemented the essential legislation.
  • Ashok Mehta Committee & Panchayati Raj:
  • The Ashok Mehta Committee’s main recommendations are:
    • The three-tier system should be replaced by a two-tier system: the Zila Parishad (at the district level) and the Mandal Panchayat (at the village level) (a group of villages).
    • After the state level, the district level is the first level of supervision.
    • At the district level, the Zila Parishad should be the executive body in charge of planning.
    • To mobilise their own financial resources, the institutions (Zila Parishad and Mandal Panchayat) should have obligatory taxing powers.
  • G V K Rao Committee & Panchayati Raj:
  • Key recommendations:
    • In the scheme of democratic decentralisation, the Zila Parishad is the most important body. The Zila Parishad will be the primary body in charge of district-level development programmes.
    • Specific planning, execution, and monitoring of rural development programmes should be given to the district and lower levels of the Panchayati Raj system.
    • There will be a new position of District Development Commissioner formed. He will be the Zila Parishad’s chief executive officer.
    • Elections to Panchayati Raj levels should be held on a regular basis.
  • L M Singhvi Committee & Panchayati Raj:
  • Key recommendation:
    • The committee proposed that the Panchayati Raj systems be recognised by the Constitution.
    • It also proposed that the Panchayati Raj systems include constitutional provisions that recognise free and fair elections.
    • To make the gramme panchayat more feasible, the committee advocated reorganising villages.
    • It was suggested that local panchayats be given extra funding to support their work.
    • In each state, judicial tribunals would be established to hear cases involving elections to Panchayati Raj institutions and other issues related to their operation.
    • State budgetary allocations, share of revenue from specific taxes, collection and retention of revenue raised, Central Government programmes and grants, Union Finance Commission grants (Article 243H).
    • Create a Finance Commission in each state to identify the principles on which appropriate financial resources for panchayats and municipalities would be secured (Article 243I).

PESA Act of 1996:

The Fifth Schedule is exempt from Part IX’s provisions. The Parliament has the authority to extend this Part to any areas it sees fit, subject to any modifications and exceptions it sees fit. The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, often known as the PESA Act or the extension act, was enacted in response to these requirements.

The PESA Act’s Objective are as follows:

  • To apply Part IX’s provisions to the designated locations.
  • To give the tribal inhabitants self-rule.
  • To have participatory democracy in village governance.
  • To develop participatory governance in accordance with traditional methods.
  • To protect and preserve the tribal population’s traditions and customs.
  • To provide panchayats the authority they need to meet tribal needs.
  • To prevent higher-level panchayats from absorbing the powers and authority of lower-level panchayats.

PESA-Related Issues:

  • Partial Implementation: States are required to create state laws for their Scheduled Areas that are consistent with the national statute. As a result, the PESA was only partially implemented.
  • In Adivasi areas, like Jharkhand, the partial implementation has harmed self-governance.
  • Administrative Hurdles: PESA failed to deliver, according to many experts, due to a lack of clarity, legal flaws, bureaucratic indifference, a lack of political will, opposition to change in the power structure, and so on.
  • Followed in Letter Rather than Spirit: According to social audits undertaken across the state, different developmental programmes were approved on paper by Gram Sabha without any actual gathering for discussion and decision-making.

Why is Chhattisgarh forming its regulations now?

  • Ensure self-governance: PESA was legislated by the Centre to ensure self-governance for people residing in scheduled areas through gramme sabhas (village assemblies).
  • Customary rights to natural resources: It recognises the right of tribal communities and scheduled area citizens to govern themselves through their own forms of self-government, as well as their customary rights to natural resources.
  • Empowering gramme sabhas: PESA achieves this goal by empowering gramme sabhas to approve development plans and exercise control over all social sectors.
  • This covers, among other things, the systems and persons responsible for enforcing regulations, controlling minor (non-timber) forest resources, minor water bodies, and minor minerals, administering local markets, preventing land alienation, and regulating intoxicants.
  • Panchayat Raj Acts: State governments were required to update their Panchayat Raj Acts without enacting any legislation that contradicted PESA’s mandate.
  • PESA laws have been drafted by six states, with Chhattisgarh being the seventh if the regulations are passed.

Why are PESA’s rules so important?

  • Power transfer: Residents of scheduled areas can strengthen their village-level bodies under PESA laws by transferring power from the government to the gramme sabha, which is made up of all of the village’s registered voters.
  • Maintaining cultural identity: Gram sabhas have powers such as maintaining cultural identity and tradition, controlling plans that impact tribals, and controlling natural resources within a village’s boundaries.
  • Redistributing authority: Gram sabhas can thus retain a safety net over their rights and surroundings in the face of external or internal conflicts according to the PESA Act. Its implementation is impossible without adequate laws, as it is an exercise in redistributing authority from institutionalised structures to village members.
  • Traditionally managed resources: Once the laws are in place, gramme sabhas will have the authority to make judgments not only about their customs and traditionally managed resources, but also about the minerals being mined in their territories.
  • Approve or prohibit operations: According to the rules, any and all agencies working in their village must keep the gramme sabha informed, and the gramme sabha has the authority to approve or prohibit operations inside the village bounds.
  • The rules also grant the Gram Sabhas authority over:
    • Management of resources over jal, jangal, zameen (water, forest and land), the three major demands of tribals;
    • Management of minor forest produce;
    • Management of mines and minerals;
    • Management of markets;
    • Management of markets human resources;
    • Monitoring and prohibition of the manufacturing, transport, sale and consumption of intoxicants within their village limits;
    • Maintenance of peace and resolving conflicts arising in the village;
    • Protecting tribal customs and traditions;
    • Encouraging customs like ghotul.

Way forward:

  • PESA will revitalise the tribal area’s fading self-governance system if it is implemented in word and spirit.
  • This will also provide an opportunity to address the existing governance system’s flaws and make it a more gender-inclusive and democratic arena.

Mains oriented question:

What are the key objectives of the PESA Act? Why is Chhattisgarh forming its regulations now? (200  words)