NIRDPR Organizes a Two-Day National Workshop on Effective Implementation of PESA
The workshop seeks to deliberate on ways to enable viable self-governance for Tribals of the Fifth Schedule areas
The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) in Hyderabad is conducting a National Workshop on PESA Act, 1996 on 5th and 6th January 2019, in association with the Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram (ABVKA). The workshop will be inaugurated on 5th by Dr. D. Srinivasulu, IAS (Rtd.) Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh in the presence of DR. WR Reddy, IAS, Director General, NIRD, and Sri Girish Kuber, Shri Yogesh Bapat of ABVKA. The valedictory address will be delivered by Sri. Jual Oram, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India on 6th January 2019.
Speaking about the significance of such a workshop, Dr. T. Vijaya Kumar, Associate Professor and Head, Centre for Equity and Social Development, NIRDPR and Mr. Girish Kuber, representative of ABVKA, said, “Improving the system of governance in tribal India and enhancing the livelihood of Adivasis who are dependent on natural resources has been an important focus for policymakers. In this context, the deliberations during this two-day workshop on the PESA Act, and addressing the various gaps of the Act and its actual practice, will explore ways of improving the implementation of PESA and other related programmes to address governance and livelihood issues of tribals in India.”
The PESA [Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas)] Act, 1996 was enacted by the Parliament to extend the provisions of the constitution relating to the Panchayats to the Scheduled Areas under the 73rd Amendment. PESA envisaged that each tier of the local governance is independent and Panchayats at higher level do not assume the powers and authority of any Panchayat at the lower level or of the Gram Sabha. In reality, however, PESA has almost been forgotten and has not become part of mainstream political or policy discourse. What is required is for Gram Sabhas in the Scheduled Areas to rightfully develop as institutions of self-governance and enjoy the recognition and respect of the elected representatives and the administrative machinery. There is also a need for inculcating the sensitivity to allow decentralized governance to find its roots in traditional community mores and customs according to the tribal ethos.
The effective implementation of PESA – a futuristic law – requires a harmonious blend of several process including the following:
. documenting the present state of organization of tribal society;
. identifying and documenting all PESA related legal, procedural and administrative frameworks currently in place;
. identifying the necessary amendments, notifications, orders or guidelines;
. drafting the necessary amendments, notifications, orders or guidelines;
. advocacy with the state governments;
.developing the necessary sensitivities in PRI members and development functionaries; and
.utilizing the opportunities created by PESA, evolve methodologies and instruments to consolidate and strengthen and enable democratic participation
To strengthen the PESA Act and its impact, NIRDPR recognizes the need for a collaborative universe which brings into its orbit youth and elders from tribal communities, perceptive researchers and sensitive academicians, legal practitioners and organization behaviour specialists, open administrators and conscious functionaries, proactive PRIs and vibrant communities and their organizations. This two-day workshop seeks to deliberate on all the critical issues plaguing the PESA Act, and draft a new charter and pathways for the Act to move from a realm of vision to a sustainable model of viable self-governance for tribals of the Fifth Schedule areas.
The workshop will begin with an overview of the PESA Act, self-introduction of the participants, and will go on to cover topics ranging from ‘Core Issues in PETA Implementation’, ‘Identification of Gaps: PESA Act and its actual practice – participants sharing’, and more.
The workshop will also include group discussions on natural resource management, customary laws, social issues, development and administrative arrangements, followed by presentations made by these groups.
The workshop will see the participation of 85 representatives, from 10 PESA implementation states including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan. The representatives include volunteers of Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Advocates, Tribal Welfare Officers, Forest Officers, academicians from Universities, researchers, and resource persons from NIRDPR.