PESA Act and its Implementation in Tribal Areas of Orissa: An Empirical Evaluation
KK Patnaik AK Gomango NB Khuntia
PESA Self-Rule Rayagada Mayurbhanj PVTG Bhuria Committee Panchayati Raj
Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), Bhubaneswar, 751003
To provide self-rule for tribals, a bill was introduced in Parliament in December 1996 based on the recommendations of the Bhuria Committee after a thorough examination of the tribal scenario in the country. The Bill was passed by the Parliament and became an Act after the President's assent on 24th December 1996. The Act is known as the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996(No 40 of 1996). It has been made clear in Article 243(M) (4) (b) that extending the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution shall not be deemed as an amendment to the Constitution under Article 368.
With the passing of the Panchayats (Extension to schedule Areas) Act (PESA) 1996 (Central Act), the state government of Orissa amended the Orissa Gram Panchayat Act,1964, Orissa Panchayat Samiti Act 1959 and Orissa Zilla Parishad Act 1991 w.e.f. 22.12.1997 i.e. within the mandatory period of one year of coming into force of PESA i.e. 24th December 1996. In the amended laws, matters relating to different subjects have been placed within the preview of Panchayats at respective tiers.
Researchers of Government and research organizations have carried out a number of studies relating to implementation and impact of PESA Act in Orissa. The present study tried to assess the status of functioning of PESA and locate the gaps of the Act through conduct of personal interviews with the PRI representatives and officials. It is felt that people's perception towards the Act can also contribute towards securing better suggestions for the improvement of the Act. Hence, the present study intends to find the gaps and suggestive measures for effective implementation of the said Act by assessing people's perception including PRI representatives about the working and understanding of the Act.
The study was carried out in the two selected districts i.e. Rayagada and Mayurbhanj under scheduled areas of Orissa for the purpose. Sampling of blocks, GPs and villages was chosen randomly. Each one block was selected randomly for the purpose. Two GPs from each block consisting of accessible and 6 purposively, one exclusively ST predominated and another a congregation of different castes with tribal majority. Apart from the two villages, one village with Primitive Tribal Group (PTG) was also covered from each selected block. In the process, a total of 10 villages were selected for the study.