Despite 25 years after its enactment, the rules of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996 (PESA) are yet to see the light of the day in four tribal populated States--Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand in the country, thus depriving the adivasis (tribal communities) from their right to empowerment.
Taking serious note in the matter, the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) has urged the Governors of these laggard States to discuss the matter with the Chief Ministers and Ministers of these four states and exhort them to notify the rules at the earliest. The provisions of the Pesa Act seek to empower local self - governments in the Schedule V areas of the country to help safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of the tribal communities.
The draft model Pesa rules had been circulated by (MoPR) in 2009 to the 10 Pesa states. Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Telangana have notified their state Pesa rules, noted Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Giriraj Singh and Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda at a national conference held here to deliberate the issue.
Singh said that while preparing the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP), the Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs should create a new model of development for the tribal community through convergence, keeping in mind the traditions of the tribal community adequate facilities should be provided to them.
He also stressed upon the need to prevent land alienation of tribals for which a well organised data base must be maintained and the need for convergence between Pesa and the execution of the Forest Rights Act.
At the meeting Singh also enlisted various measures taken by the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the development of tribal areas. “The budget of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, which was Rs.4,000 crore during 2013-14, has increased to more than Rs 7,500 crore during 2021–22. The scholarship given to tribal students was Rs 978 crore during the year 2013–14, which has now increased to Rs. 2546 crore. These facts show that the Centre is serious about improvement in day-to-day lives of the tribal community. The State Governments should also show similar commitment and seriousness in this matter,” he said.
Similarly, Munda called upon the States to look at the tribal welfare from a national point of view while understanding the basic spirit of the Constitution along with local concerns and issues. He emphasized on the welfare of tribals by convergence of Schemes of Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Union Ministry of Environment.