Implementation of PESA and Underlying Issues

Implementation of PESA and Underlying Issues

Question: Implementation is the key to successful application of the PESA Act. Discuss the implementation of PESA and issues therein regarding this constitutional safeguard.

A. PESA Implementation

• Focus of PESA is recognition of Gram Sabha as a key unit of governance in Schedule V areas

• It is implemented through Gram Sabhas so that people have control over their resources

• Gram Sabhas under PESA have to safeguard community resources and customary way of living and traditions of tribal areas

• PESA is implemented through Gram Sabhas which approve plans, select beneficiaries and provide certificates for utilisation to Gram Panchayat

• Gram Panchayats also have control over village markets, money lending, land acquisition, rehabilitation, prevention of land alienation, control over minor water bodies, institutions and functionaries

• PESA is implemented in Schedule V areas to promote self governance

• PESA is a landmark legislation for tribal communities involving devolution of political, administrative and fiscal powers to local governments elected by communities

• It guarantees tribes half of seats in elected local governments and seat of chairperson at hierarchical levels of the Panchayat system

B. Key Issues

• Process of notification of villages under PESA and constitution of Gram Sabha needs to be more comprehensively done

• Ministers of PRI has also issued studies for identifying gaps in implementation; this has been shares with state governments for making necessary amendments but only 3 states have been covered so far namely Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh

• Though model rules have been framed as a reference point, government functionaries are yet to follow the guidelines

• Tribal communities have been denied self governance and right to community natural resources Example SC’s 1997 Samantha decision ruled that tribal land cannot be sold for mining but the Ministry of Mines took the opposite approach ; government was then given authority in transfer of ST land which undermined tribal autonomy

• Communities are evicted without proper rehabilitation under PESA

• PESA and the Fifth Schedule have been counterproductive as a result

Facts and Stats

• Rules under PESA have been formed without inclusion of women and tribal leaders

• This has been opposed by the tribal community

• In 1997, a few of the provisions of the act had been implemented, but this was not effective

• Instead of taking village as a unit for gram sabha, panchayat was taken as a unit instead
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