Published on: November 23, 2021
PESA ACT 1996
The Chhattisgarh government has formulated draft rules under PESA Act, 1996, terming it the Chhattisgarh Panchayat Provisions (Extension of the Scheduled) Rules, 2021.
ABOUT PESA 1996
- Enacted by the Centre to ensure self-governance through gram sabhas (village assemblies) for people living in scheduled areas
- Legally recognises the right of tribal communities, residents of the scheduled areas, to govern themselves through their own systems of self-government, and also acknowledges their traditional rights over natural resources.
- Empowers gram sabhas to play a key role in approving development plans and controlling all social sectors.
- Includes the processes and personnel who implement policies, exercising control over minor (non-timber) forest resources, minor water bodies and minor minerals, managing local markets, preventing land alienation and regulating intoxicants among other things.
- State governments were required to amend their respective Panchayat Raj Acts without making any law that would be inconsistent with the mandate of PESA.
- Six states have formed the PESA laws, and Chhattisgarh would become the seventh state if the rules are enacted.
- Enable the residents of scheduled areas to strengthen their village-level bodies by transferring power from the government to the gram sabha, a body of all the registered voters of the village.
- The powers of gram sabhas include maintenance of cultural identity and tradition, control over schemes affecting the tribals, and control over natural resources within the area of a village.
- Enables gram sabhas to maintain a safety net over their rights and surroundings against external or internal conflicts. Without proper rules, its implementation is not possible as it is an exercise in decentralising the power from institutionalised structures, back to the village residents.
- Give gram sabhas the power to take decisions not only over their customs and traditionally managed resources, but also on the minerals being excavated from their areas.
- Gram sabha will have to be kept informed by any and all agencies working in their village, and that the gram sabha has the power to approve or stop the work being done within the village limits.
- Give power to the gram sabhas over management of resources over jal, jangal, zameen (water, forest and land), the three major demands of tribals; minor forest produce; mines and minerals; markets; and human resources.