Hyderabad, 7th January 2019: The Centre for Equity and Social Development and the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) in Hyderabad organized a National Workshop on PESA [Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas)] Act, 1996 on 5th and 6th January 2019, in association with the Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram (ABVKA).
The workshop was inaugurated on 5th January 2019 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 and Shri Yogesh Bapat of ABVKA.
Dr. Srinivasulu emphasized, “The PESA Act should be implemented in totality by all the State Governments in the country, and the Tribals should be given enough protection in terms of reservations.” He also reiterated that the Governor of Maharashtra is doing wonderful work for uplifting the Tribals in schedule areas.
Sri Girish Kuber of ABVKA pointed out that the Tribals’ traditional lifestyle, knowledge and culture should be protected by fully implementing the PESA Act.
In the two-day workshop, 100 participants from all the ten PESA implementing States i.e. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana participated. The participants were form the professions of Advocates, Research Scholars, ABVKA full-time volunteers, tribal social activists, tribal leaders, and academicians from Universities, Professors from NIRDPR and Govt. Officials from Tribal Welfare Department of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Further all the participants were divided into four groups and discussed on four themes such as natural resource management, customary laws, social issues and development and administrative arrangements. They identified the following key issues:
Notification of PESA villages according to the tribals traditional way of Governance
- All state Acts should be amended in line with PESA Act in Schedule Areas
- Empowerment of Gram Sabhas in Schedule Areas by delegating the actual power
The issues related to Minor Forest Produce, Mining and Excise, Planning and Management of Minor water bodies and preservation of land alienation in Schedule Areas are to be resolved through decentralization and full implementation of PESA Act.
Issues related to sensitization of all the functionaries and political leaders on PESA Act.
Sri Jual Oram, Honourable Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India participated in the workshop on 6th January 2019 and congratulated both NIRDPR and ABVKA for organizing a national workshop on the important issue of PESA Act implementation. The Honourable Minister in his Valedictory speech opined that there are some pitfalls in the implementation of PESA Act and emphasized that there is a need for concerted efforts for developing coordination among the departments of Revenue, Forest, Panchayati Raj and Tribal Affairs for effective implementation of the PESA. He further emphasized that everyone should respect the Indian Constitution followed by State Legislature and struggle to restore the Rights and Entitlements within the Rights of Constitutional framework.
The Director General of NIRDPR, Dr. W. R. Reddy welcomed the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs. He said, “this National Workshop has given a lot of inputs for developing training programmes for the next calendar year on Tribal Development, particularly for strengthening the Governance of Tribal areas.” He further highlighted that a small committee will be formed for developing the strategies that have emerged from this workshop and planning to submit to the Union Government on this important issue by duly involving ABVKA and other functionaries.
The Honourable Minister had a made in- visit to the NIRDPR campus after joining the Union Cabinet, and appreciated the efforts of NIRDPR, suggesting the institute to take up the capacity building activities of the functionaries of the Tribal Department along with Rural Development.
The Honourable Minister also visited the Rural Technology Park of NIRDPR and inaugurated two appropriate technology units i.e. Clay technology and Water purification plant and appreciated the technology transfer to the Rural and Tribal areas. The workshop was concluded with Vote of Thanks proposed by Dr. T. Vijaya Kumar Associate Professor & Head, Centre for Equity & Social Development, NIRDPR.