Information about the PESA Act (#GS II)


  • To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA), a one-day national conference on the provisions of the PESA Act was conducted as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Background on the PESA Act:

  • The PESA Act of 1996 was enacted in 1996 by the United States Congress.
  • The Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA Act) is an Indian law that ensures self-government for people living in India's Scheduled Areas through traditional Gram 
  • The PESA is considered the cornerstone of tribal legislation in India.
  • PESA respects the existing decision-making framework while advocating for people's autonomy.


  • In 1992, the 73rd constitutional amendment was passed to improve rural India's local self-governance. As a result of this change, a three-tier Panchayati Raj Institution was enacted into law.
  • However, its application to scheduled and tribal regions was limited under Article 243(M).
  • The Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act 1996 was passed in response to the Bhuria Committee's recommendations in 1995, with the goal of providing tribal self-rule for people living in India's scheduled areas. • The Gram Sabha has absolute powers under the PESA, though the state legislature has given it an advisory role to ensure that Panchayats and Gram Sabhas function properly.

Gram Sabhas are vested with the following authorities and responsibilities:

  • Consultation is essential for land purchases, relocation, and rehabilitation of displaced people.
  • Traditional beliefs and the cultures of indigenous peoples must be preserved.
  • Minor ownership of forest products
  • Local issues have been handled.
  • There is no encroachment on the land.
  • Right to regulate liquor production, distillation, and prohibition • Right to govern village markets
  • It's tough to keep track of money loans.
  • Any other rights linked to Scheduled Tribes.

Issues Affecting PESA:

  • For their Scheduled Areas, state governments must enact state laws in conformity with this national statute. As a result, just a portion of the PESA was implemented.
  • The partial implementation has hurt self-governance in Adivasi areas such as Jharkhand.
  • Many analysts believe PESA failed to deliver because of a lack of clarity, legal faults, bureaucratic indifference, a lack of political will, resistance to change in the power structure, and 
  • Several developmental initiatives were accepted on paper by Gram Sabha without any debate or decision-making, according to social audits conducted across the state.

Preliminary Exam Hot-Link:

  • Information on PESA.
  • The Characteristics of It.
  • Audits of social media


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