Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on 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).
About the PESA Act, 1996 –
- PESA seeks to protect the principle of Jal, Jungle, Jameen (Water, forest and land) for the tribals.
- Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA is a law enacted by the Government of India to cover the “Scheduled areas”, which are not covered in the 73rd amendment or Panchayati Raj Act of the Indian Constitution.
- PESA is a Central legislation that extends the Provisions of the Panchayats, as given in Part IX of the Constitution to the Fifth Schedule Areas with certain modifications and exemptions. These areas have preponderance of tribal population. This Act is called “The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996″. In short form this is popular as “PESA”.
- The States with Fifth Schedule Areas that are covered under PESA are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana.
- It was enacted in December 1996 to enable Gram Sabhas to self-govern their natural resources. It is an Act to provide for the extension of the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas.
- A state legislation on panchayats in the scheduled area should take care of the customs, religious practices and traditional management practices of community resources.
- Every village shall contain a gram sabha whose members are included in the electoral list for the panchayats at village level.
- The recommendation of the gram sabha is mandatory for granting mining licenses in the scheduled areas.
- Planning and management of minor water bodies are entrusted to the panchayats.