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UPSC Essentials: One word a day – PESA

What is PESA? Often seen in news this terms is relevant for both Prelims and Mains. Aspirants must get the basics right for UPSC-CSE. Don't miss to solve MCQs below.

UPSC, PESA Act, one word a day, UPSC Essentials, Upsc news, current affairs today, sarkari naukri, government jobs, upsc prelims 2023, upsc mains 2022It was after the Bhuria Committee recommendations in 1995 that PESA Act 1996 came into existence. (Express photo)

Take a look at the essential concepts, terms, and phenomena from the static and current parts of the UPSC-CSE. Also, check the answer to the previous MCQ.

Word: PESA

Subject: Polity and Governance

Relevance: PESA is recurrently seen in the news lately. While mostly seen from a political glance it has great relevance for UPSC for prelims and mains (GS II). Aspirants must know its factual aspect as well as the mains fodder. Note that Panchayati Raj is a frequent topic in exams. Know about it and solve the MCQ.

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Why in news?

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday (August 7) declared a six-point “guarantee” for tribals in Gujarat’s Chhota Udepur district, including the “strict implementation” of The Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA Act).

What is PESA?

—This is a legislation that extends the provisions of Panchayats to the Fifth Schedule Areas. These areas have a huge tribal population. This Act is called “The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996” or “PESA”.

—The PESA Act was enacted in 1996 “to provide for the extension of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas”.

—Other than Panchayats, Part IX, comprising Articles 243-243ZT of the Constitution, contains provisions relating to Municipalities and Cooperative Societies.

—Under the PESA Act, Scheduled Areas are those referred to in Article 244(1), which says that the provisions of the Fifth Schedule shall apply to the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in states other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. The Fifth Schedule provides for a range of special provisions for these areas.

What is the background of PESA?

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—The 73rd constitutional amendment was made in 1992 to promote local self-governance in rural India.

—This amendment gave shape to a three-tier Panchayati Raj Institution that was made into law.

—But its application to the scheduled and tribal areas under Article 243(M) was restricted.

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—It was after the Bhuria Committee recommendations in 1995 that PESA Act 1996 came into existence.

—The Parliament enacted the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) to extend Part IX of the Constitution with certain modifications and exceptions to the Scheduled V areas.

—It ensured tribal self-rule for people living in scheduled areas of India.

What are the important powers provided to Gram Sabha under PESA?

—The following three types of powers have been given to a Gram Sabha under PESA:

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(i) Developmental: consultation before land acquisition, prevent land alienation, power to enforce prohibition, prior approval of all developmental projects and control over tribal sub-plan, power to issue utilization certificate for developmental expenditure, selection of beneficiaries of poverty alleviation and other schemes of individual benefits, control over institutions and functionaries of social sectors.

(ii) Dispute resolution as per traditional laws and customs: collective resolution of disputes on the basis of customs, traditional laws and religious beliefs of tribal areas.

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(iii) Ownership and management of natural resources: maintaining ownership of local tribal community over water resources, common lands, minor forest produce, minor minerals, etc. as well as effective implementation and monitoring of related laws.

How does PESA Act work?

—The PESA Act was enacted to ensure self-governance through Gram Sabhas (village assemblies) for people living in the Scheduled Areas.

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—It recognises the right of tribal communities, who are residents of the Scheduled Areas, to govern themselves through their own systems of self-government, and also acknowledges their traditional rights over natural resources.

—The Act empowers Gram Sabhas to play a key role in approving development plans and controlling all social sectors.

—This 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 are expected to amend their respective Panchayati Raj Acts without making any law that would be inconsistent with the mandate of PESA.

—Ten states — Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Telangana — have notified Fifth Schedule areas that cover (partially or fully) several districts in each of these states.

—After the PESA Act was enacted, the central Ministry of Panchayati Raj circulated model PESA Rules. So far, six states have notified these Rules, including Gujarat.

Why are rules under PESA important? What topics will be covered?

—PESA rules 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.

—The PESA Act thus 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.

—The laws, once formed, will 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.

—The rules state that the 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.

—The rules also 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.

—The gram sabha would have the powers to monitor and prohibit the manufacturing, transport, sale and consumption of intoxicants within their village limits.

—It also has a duty to maintain peace and resolve conflicts arising in the village, while protecting tribal customs and traditions, and encouraging customs like ghotul.

Beyond the word

Which forest produces are termed as Minor Forest Produce?

—“Minor Forest Produce” has been defined in “The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006” which includes all nontimber forest produce of plant origin, including bamboo, brushwood, stumps, cane, tussar, cocoons, honey-wax, lac, tendu leaves, medicinal plants, herbs, roots, tubers, etc.

Point to ponder: Conflict over mining and land rights in tribal areas points to a broader issue — the failure of institutions mandated to protect tribal rights. Comment.

MCQ:

Consider the following statements and answer the question below

1. It was after the Virginus Xaxa Committee recommendations in 1995 that PESA Act 1996 came into existence.

2. PESA Act is legislation that extends the provisions of Panchayats to the Fifth Schedule Areas.

3. State governments are expected to amend their respective Panchayati Raj Acts without making any law that would be inconsistent with the mandate of PESA.

Which of the following statements are true?
a) 1 and 2                                             b) 2 and 3
c) Only 2                                              d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer to previous MCQ: UPSC Essentials: One word a day – iDEX (d)

(sources: panchayat.gov.in, Explained: The PESA Act, and the background of the AAP’s election promise in Gujarat)

First published on: 09-08-2022 at 05:13:02 pm
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