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PESA Act & Conversions

In News

  • Recently, Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Minister stated that PESA Act will help curb conversions and marriages for tribal land.

More about the news

  • Issue:
    • Many times by deception, trickery, marriages done by means of allurement to our tribal sisters’ daughters, land is given in their name and called tribal lands. 
    • Sometimes even the means of conversion is used to achieve the purpose.
  • Use of PESA to curb this practice:
    • State CM said that the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, which gives more power to gram sabhas, will ensure that conversions and marriages done by “alluring” tribal women to get land notified as tribal land is stopped.

About Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act, 1996

  • About:
    • PESA allows gram panchayats to decide matters related to minor forest produce, land and small water bodies along with implementation of government schemes and maintaining records of migrant labourers for curbing bonded labour in these scheduled areas.
  • Background:
    • The 73rd and the 74th Amendments to the Indian Constitution passed in 1992 took the three-tier Panchayati Raj governance structure to rural and urban parts of the country 
      • It came into force in April 1993
    • However, scheduled areas, predominantly inhabited by the tribal population, were exempted from the new amendments.
    • Given low human development indicators, there was a huge demand to empower local governance in the scheduled area as well.
    • Thus Parliament enacted special legislation called Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) in 1996 
      • It came into force on 24th December 1996.
    • It is now applicable in the Fifth Schedule areas, which deals with the administration of the districts dominated by the tribal communities
    • It is in force in 10 states of the country.
      • Six States namely Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Telangana have notified PESA Rules. 
      • The remaining four States namely Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha should also frame PESA Rules and start implementing them soon.
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