Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Dr. C.P. Joshi has advised the State Governments to implement the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 (PESA) in a speedy and effective manner. Notably PESA promotes self-governance in Schedule V Areas, giving centrality to Gram Sabhas. Under PESA, Gram Sabhas have mandatory executive functions to approve plans of the Village Panchayats, identify beneficiaries for schemes, issue certificates of utilization of funds, right to be consulted before land acquisition, rehabilitation & resettlement, power to regulate and restrict sale/consumption of intoxicants, prevent alienation of land and restore alienated land, manage village markets, control money lending an ownership of minor forest produce.
Dr. C.P. Joshi spoke at a one day workshop organised by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GoI, Government of Rajasthan and the Mohanlal Sukhadia University at Udaipur, with the objective of chalking out the future agenda for the implementation of PESA in 4 States viz. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh. The Secretary in the Panchayati Raj Ministry, Govt. of India, Shri A.N.P.Sinha was also present on the occasion. Tribal leaders, Panchayats Representatives, NGOs, academics as well as policy-makers participated in the workshop.
The Minister said that the participants have given several valuable suggestions, which concerned strengthening Gram Sabhas, appreciating the many positive aspects of tribal culture and society, bringing about necessary changes in State laws, formulating appropriate rules and capacity building. It was highlighted that strong, vibrant Gram Sabhas are necessary for good governance. Further, the relationship between the Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayats is not adversarial but complementary. Dr. C.P. Joshi impressed upon the States that they should form Gram Sabhas based on communities managing their affairs as per traditions and customs as envisaged in PESA. The processes of consultation and recommendation should be clarified through rules and procedures so that government functionaries act in accordance with the Act. Capacities of government functionaries, Panchayats Representatives and Gram Sabhas should be built to enable them to function as envisaged in PESA.
(Release ID :68975)