Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Left wing extremism fast forwards the creeping bureaucracy

Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Ministry of Panchayati Raj asks States affected by Left Wing Extremism to ensure proper implementation of PESA Guidelines

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has asked all the States particularly those affected by the Left Wing Extremism to ensure proper implementation of Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Guidelines in their areas so that the Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) could be made stronger enough. In a letter written to all Chief Secretaries of States to States the Ministry has urged them to take all necessary steps that are required to check the deepening and widening of extremism in PESA areas. The Ministry has also underlined the need to activate Gram Sabhas in a mission mode for resolving disputes, supervisining land acquition and assess the impact and delimitation of villages.

The advisory further details essential features of PESA that need to be complied with in relevant statutes/rules/guidelines and covers (a) Delimitation of Villages and Gram Sabhas, (b) Procedure to be followed for consultation with Gram Sabha for land acquisition and defining minor minerals and securing recommendation of Gram Sabha [Section 4(k)], and (c) Endowing Gram Sabhas with powers and authority under Section 4m (i) to 4m (v) relating to Excise, MFP, Land alienation, Village markets and Money lending.

Accordingly, the States may take the following steps to operationalise PESA. In the mean time the M/o Panchayati Raj is separately examining the Central laws and policies related to Forest, Mining, R&R etc. for PESA compliance.

The States have been asked to adopt Model PESA Rules (available at panchayat.gov.in) circulated by MoPR with suitable modifications so that the field functionaries have a clear framework for implementing PESA. Amend State Panchayati Raj Acts for consonance with PESA. Particularly important here is the definition of ¡®village¡¯ and powers of the Gram Sabha. State Election Commission (SEC) could be given the responsibility of delimitation of Villages as suggested in Annex IV. They can amend laws, rules and executive instructions on Mines & Minerals, Minor Forest Produce, Excise, Money Lending etc. on the lines of Annex IV and Expedite comments on the amendments to PESA proposed by MoPR for removing certain infirmities (Annex V).

As per the guidelines the States have been also asked to empower the Gram Sabha as above and ensure its effective functioning. Follow the guidelines issued by MoPR on 2nd Oct., 09 in this regard. Undertake special programmes to acquaint the Gram Sabhas of their rights and duties. Develop appropriate training and informative material in the regional language. Identify, train and deploy a social mobilizer in each Gram Sabha for activating the Gram Sabha.

They have also been advised to Conduct regular training programmes on PESA for State and Panchayat functionaries (both elected and officials) to sensitize and educate them on PESA with focus on the role and conduct of the Gram Sabha.

With regard to Administrative Measures it has been made clear that since implementation of PESA involves several departments, the states should constitute a Committee headed by the Chief Secretary with membership of the relevant departments to review it every three months. Also Involve reputed Experts for getting another perspective, form similar committees in the districts and activate Tribes Advisory Councils & Tribal Research Institutes.

The States should also include a prominent section on the implementation of PESA in the Annual Governor¡¯s Report, as mandated in Schedule V and strengthen Administrative machinery in the PESA Areas through filling up all vacancies, creation of separate cadres, hardship allowance, preference in education, accommodation etc.

They should also create Information-cum-grievance redressal mechanisms at various levels where persons dissatisfied with the implementation of PESA may register their grievances and obtain advice/justice.

The Ministry has also asked States to urgently review the position particularly on the following issues for ensuring that the most important needs and concerns of the people are addressed:
(a) Mandate SEC to delimit villages.
(b) Activate Gram Sabhas in a Mission Mode and enable it to exercise its powers & functions including in relation to planning & implementation of Central/State schemes, grant of UCs and dispute resolution.
(c) Ensure that complete information about the land to be acquired and impact of the proposed project, is placed before the Gram Sabha and its recommendations are generally followed.
(d) Incorporate definition of MFP, as provided in the Forest Rights Act, 2005, in all laws and rules. Undertake management of MFP with the consent of the Gram Sabha and in case MFP is collected by a para-statal organization, the net income should go to the people.
(e) Enable the Gram Sabha, particularly women, to take decisions regarding the opening and continuance of liquor shops, sale of intoxicants, etc.
(f) Furnish information as per the questionnaire for ascertaining the current status of implementation of PESA and taking follow up action. ST/-
Ministry of Panchayati Raj asks States affected by Left Wing Extremism to ensure proper implementation of PESA Guidelines

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