The Centre wants the state governments to implement the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) effectively to reach out to the tribal and rural population across the country.
It has been realized that disparities exist in terms of the provisions of the act and its proper implementation. Panchayats being a ‘State Subject’, States are yet to frame appropriate rules under PESA, and therefore it has not been implemented in letter and spirit. The government also cautioned that while ensuring development projects in PESA areas, the culture and life style of forest dwellers must be kept in mind so that it is not affected adversely.
PESA authorizes the States to give the Gram Sabhas power to regulate and restrict sale and consumption of liquor; ownership of minor forest produce; power to prevent alienation of land and restore alienated land; power to manage village markets, control money lending to STs and power to manage village markets and mandatory executive functions to approve plans of the village panchayats, identify beneficiaries for schemes, issue certificates of utilization of funds, etc.