Panchayati raj of Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh has approximately 9,820 Gram Panchayats at the village level, 146 Janpad Panchayat at the intermediate (block) level and 16 Zila Panchayat at the district level, Additionally, there is the Gram Sabha, which is the basic unit in the Panchayati Raj mechanism.
- Panchayats have been the backbone of the Indian villages since the beginning of recorded history. Gandhiji, the father of the nation, in 1946 had aptly remarked that the Indian Independence must begin at the bottom and every village ought to be a Republic or Panchayat having powers.
- Gandhiji’s dream has been translated into reality with the introduction of the three-tier Panchayati Raj system to ensure peoples participation in rural
73rd Amendment Act, 1992 which later adopted by Chhattisgarh State
- The passage of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 marks a new era in the federal democratic set up of the country and provides constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
- Consequent upon the enactment of the Act, Chhattisgarh has enacted their legislation.
- The main features of the Act are
- A 3-tier system of Panchayati Raj for all States having population of over 20 lakh;
- Panchayat elections regularly every 5 years;
- Reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women (not less than one-third of seats);
- Appointment of State Finance Commission to make recommendations as regards the financial powers of the Panchayats and
- Constitution of District Planning Committees to prepare development plans for the district as a whole.
- As per the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, the Panchayati Raj Institutions have been endowed with such powers and authority as may be necessary to function as institutions of selfgovernment and contains provisions of devolution of powers and responsibilities upon Panchayats at the appropriate level with reference to
- The preparation of plans for economic development and social justice; and
- The implementation of such schemes for economic development and social justice as may be entrusted to them.
Financial Powers of Panchayati Raj Institutions
- Article 243-G of the Constitution of India provides that the States/UTs may, by law, endow the Panchayats with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government and to prepare plans for economic development and social justice and their implementation including those in relation to the matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule.
- As per Article 243-H of the Constitution, State Legislatures have been empowered to enact laws;
- to authorise a Panchayat to levy, collect and appropriate some taxes, duties, tolls and fees;
- to assign to the Panchayat, some taxes, duties, tolls levied and collected by the State Government;
- to provide for making grants-in-aid to the Panchayats from the Consolidated Fund of the State; and
- to provide for constitution of such funds for Panchayats for crediting all money received by or on behalf of Panchayats and also the withdrawal of such money therefrom.
Constitution of State Finance Commissions
- Article 243-I of the Constitution provides for constitution of a State Finance Commission to review the financial position of Panchayats and to make recommendations to the Governor regarding the principles governing the major issues mentioned in Article 243-H.
Eleventh Schedule –
It contains the following 29 functional items placed within the purview of panchayats:
- Agriculture, including agricultural extension
- Land improvement, implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil conservation
- Minor irrigation, water management and watershed development
- Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry
- Social forestry and farm forestry
- Minor forest produce
- Small-scale industries, including food processing industries
- Khadi, village and cottage industries
- Rural housing
- Drinking water
- Fuel and fodder
- Roads, culverts, bridges, ferries, waterways and other means of communication
- Rural electrification, including distribution of electricity
- Non-conventional energy sources
- Poverty alleviation programme
- Education, including primary and secondary schools
- Technical training and vocational education
- Adult and non-formal education
- Cultural activities
- Markets and fairs
- Health and sanitation including hospitals, primary health centres and dispensaries
- Family welfare
- Women and child development
- Social welfare, including welfare of the handicapped and mentally retarded
- Welfare of the weaker sections, and in particular, of the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes
- Public distribution system
- Maintenance of community assets.
PESA/Schedule Area in Chhattisgarh
- Scheduled areas in India are inhabited by the tribal population who have been managing their natural resources and governing their social, economic and political life through a well- knit system of ancient customs and practices. However, in the wake of modernization these age old institutions of self governance are fast becoming extinct.
- It is a challenge to usher the tribals in the mainstream of development efforts without disturbing or destroying their cultural identity and socio- economic milieu.
- To achieve this objective Bhuria Committee was constituted 1994 to examine various dimensions of self rule for tribals, the constitutional requirements and to make recommendations for extending the provisions of the Constitution 73rd (Amendment) Act, 1992 to the Scheduled Areas.
- Following the recommendations of the committee, the Parliament extended the provisions of 73rd Amendment Act to the Scheduled Areas in the then eight states (now nine states) by passing Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (hereinafter PESA).
Devolution of Powers under PESA
- PESA legally recognizes the right of tribal communities to govern themselves through their own systems of self-government and also acknowledges their traditional rights over natural resources. In pursuance of this objective, PESA empowers Gram Sabhas (village assemblies) to play a key role in approving development plans, controlling all social sectors – including the processes and personnel who implement policies, exercising control over minor (non-timber) forest resources, minor water bodies and minor minerals, managing local markets, preventing land alienation and regulating intoxicants among other things.
Objectives of the Act
The objectives of the PESA Act are as follows6:
- To extend the provisions of Part IX of the Constitution relating to the panchayats to the scheduled areas with certain modifications
- To provide self-rule for the bulk of the tribal population
- To have village governance with participatory democracy and to make the gram sabha a nucleus of all activities
- To evolve a suitable administrative framework consistent with traditional practices
- To safeguard and to preserve the traditions and customs of tribal communities
- To empower panchayats at the appropriate levels with specific powers conducive to tribal requirements
- To prevent panchayats at the higher level from
Adoption of PESA by the State of Chattisgarh
- State governments were required to amend their respective Panchayat Raj Acts within a year and not to make any law that would be inconsistent with the mandate of PESA. Chattisgarh became an independent state in 2000.
- The Panchayat Raj legislation applicable in Madhya Pradesh became applicable to the state of Chhattisgarh and make special provisions for extension of Panchayats in Scheduled Areas, a new chapter was added to Chhattisgarh Panchayati Raj Adhiniyam, 1993 (CPRA).
- However, the manner in which PESA provisions have been incorporated in CPRA, have been at variance with the letter and spirit of PESA.
- Besides, parallel provisions exist in other state laws governing a subject matter of PESA, which do not distinguish between a Scheduled Area and a Non Scheduled Area.
- Finally, since the focus nationally is on reviewing the existing approaches to natural resource management in Scheduled Areas and to create an ideal framework for forest and Scheduled Area governance and also various key legislations on forest tribal interface such as new the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, have been enacted, therefore, the PESA framework in Orissa also needs to be updated in the light of national and global developments.
- With this backdrop, this report presents an analysis of the current status of PESA implementation in the State of Chattisgarh and our suggestions and recommendation on effective devolution of powers on each of the subject matters of PESA.
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