Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (or PESA), 1996

Rights of Indigenous People

“Indigenous people around the world have sought recognition of their identities, their ways of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources; yet throughout history, their rights have been violated.” United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, October 2006

There has been a systemic failure in giving tribals a stake in the modern economic processes that inexorably intrude into their living spaces… The systematic exploitation and social and economic abuse of our tribal communities can no longer be tolerated. – Dr Manmohan Singh

In last six decades India has achieved significant milestones in the areas of economic growth, cultural assimilation and global political interests. However, within the purview of development the tribal affairs have been shoved under the shelf to serve the vested interest of some. The poor tribals have been made to feel like aliens in their own indigenous lands.

Over the decades the process of development has frequently led to a progressive erosion of their traditional rights over their land resources including the forests. This can be aptly ascribed to the lacunae in the laws, faulty implementation, and rapacious exploitation by the unscrupulous traders, money-lenders, etc.

Constitution and the Tribals

In India most of the tribes are collectively identified under Article 342 (1&2) as Scheduled Tribes and right to self determination guaranteed by Part X : The Scheduled and Tribal Areas – Article 244: Administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas.

(1). The provisions of the Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration and control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State (other than the states ofAssam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram).

(2). The provisions of the Sixth Schedule shall apply to the administration of the tribal areas in the State of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

The Indian Constitution is supposed to protect tribal interests, especially tribal autonomy and their rights over land, through Fifth and Sixth Schedules. Scheduled Areas of Article 244(1) are notified as per the Fifth Schedule and Tribal Areas of Article 244(2) are notified as per the Sixth Schedule.

Sixth Schedule contains provisions as to the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. This law gives enormous freedoms to the autonomous regions and districts in terms of legislative and executive power. The law notes that each autonomous region shall have its own autonomous Regional Council and every autonomous district its own autonomous District Council.

Indira Gandhi introduced what is called as Tribal Sub-Plan in the planning process, earmarking a portion of funds for tribal development. Only to ensure their share of the Central Plan allocations, the States started the notification of tribal areas again. However, the money seldom reached the tribals.

When Rajiv Gandhi’s successors passed 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution to enact Panchayat and Nagarpalika Bills, they simply forgot that these do not automatically become applicable to Tribal and Scheduled Areas.

Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (or PESA), 1996

Village level democracy became a real prospect for Indiain 1992 with the 73rd amendment to the Constitution, which mandated that resources, responsibility and decision making be passed on from central government to the lowest unit of the governance, the Gram Sabha or the Village Assembly. A three tier structure of local self government was envisaged under this amendment.

Since the laws do not automatically cover the scheduled areas, the PESA Act was in acted on 24 December 1996 to enable Tribal Self Rule in these areas. The Act extended the provisions of Panchayats to the tribal areas of nine states that have Fifth Schedule Areas. Most of the North eastern states under Sixth Schedule Areas (where autonomous councils exist) are not covered by PESA, as these states have their own Autonomous councils for governance. The nine states with Fifth Schedule areas are:

Andhra Pradesh                 Chhattisgarh           Gujarat

Himachal Pradesh            Jharkhand                Maharashtra

Madhya Pradesh                Orissa                         Rajasthan.

Tribal People of India

Read full 16 page report on PESA: PESA_ACT_1996


About Goodpal

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41 Responses to Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (or PESA), 1996

  1. Pingback: PESA – A Potent Weapon Against Naxals (Maoists) In India !! | Dissecting State Policies

  2. sebenius kujur says:

    pesa act 1996 is backbone for the tribals living in india where gramsabha is empowered and its members are cons cientized about their duties and rights in the villages.Now they atleast are aware of their village democracy that once it traditionally transmitted orally but today it is documented for aa that belongs to s kujur a social worker.

  3. Goodpal says:

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, you are right. Strengthening Gram Sabhas is at the core of PRI. It acquires all the more importance for the schedule V areas. Empowering tribal villages to manage their own affairs is also key to strengthening democracy in India by making it more inclusive.

    • Sanjay Kadu says:

      Yes Gopalji ur right.
      But in PESA no word
      Abt awareness of natural wealth
      their traditional values with scientific view.
      Pl remark
      Sanjay Kadu

  4. Pingback: Tackling Left Wing Extremism (Naxalism) – Recent Measures Taken By Union and State Governments « REFLECTIONS

  5. george david says:

    recent abduction of mr.alex paul ,sukuma collector showing the greater disparity between the enacted PESA and its result getting into the tribal areas.though sukuma is having rich natural resource for development people of the area are still in lack of control over that bcz of maoist presence .kidnapping has to take as a alarm signal ,pesa ‘s vibration yet to get into the tribal regions.govt should incorporate with tribal leaders for development process

  6. Ramit Bajaj says:

    This year CSE prelim had a question on PESA Act 1996, can u please tell me the answer to that question?

  7. Bhupender Jaglan Krantikari says:

    PESA, no doubt its a very good initiation by Bharat sarkar, but more power should given to gram sabha.
    I hope u must be agree with me that a company wanted to set up a plant in Lohanigunda in Chhatisgarh. What had happened there. U must be aware. Need more power and authority. Pls comment back, if am wrong some where.
    Jai Bharat
    JAGLAN Krantikari

    • Goodpal says:

      The only correct way to implement PESA Act is to make it supercede all other laws in schedule V areas. Today PESA is just among many other laws, so it is bypassed easily.

  8. kandulna walter says:

    pesa is must be PPESA.this mistake is intentional and conspirational and it has made blunder. PESA suggests Panchayat extended to Scheduled Areas Act-1996 and it’s not that. The correct name is the provisions of panchayat (extended to secheduled areas) act-1996. Panchayat has not been extented to SAs but its has Exclusive Provisions extended to SAs.Panchayat has three tier system. Under PPESA it is two tier system.


    Mr Walter Kandulna is right.One can refer to the Gazette of india notification no 70 dated24th December 1996.It is notified as THE PROVISIONS OF THE PANCHAYATS(EXTENTION TO THE SCHEDULED AREA)ACT 1996.This Act came into being as per the provisions of The Constitution of India Article 243-ZC (1)(2)(3).

    • Goodpal says:

      Hi Kandulna and Pius, You are both right. Very often acronyms are created for ease of use and remembering them. PESA is one of them!

      Have a good day!

      • KANDULNA WALTER says:

        my second observation is of more importance and it’s that the system under PPESA is a two tier system of “gram sabha” at the lower level and ” autonomous district council” at the district level. But in the general system of panchayats it is three tier system of “gram panchayat”, ‘panchayat samiti”, and the “jila parishad”. and the most important thing is that under PPESA i.e. under special panchayat system for the scheduled areas the gram sabha and the ADC have the AUTONOMY.

  10. garm panchayat mini rojgar yojna ki jankari de

  11. Prabhakar Ramrao Pande says:

    Very important information

  12. Goodpal says:

    Thanks Prabhakar, PESA is really a very good act in spirit. But unless implemented in its true spirit it will remain just a paper tiger no one is afraid of.

  13. Shailendra Nilawar says:

    Please give PESA villages in Maharashtra

  14. Shailendra Nilawar says:

    Please give list of PESA villages in Maharashtra state

  15. We can notice very good turnout is apparent in the implementation of the PESA and sound principles of administration are in practice and the provisions are a real boon to the Tribal advancement on account of the empowerment it is offering in their self-determination

  16. premlata kawaduji burange says:

    pesa ki wajahse aaj adivasiyoki jiwan shaili me vikas honeki aasha dikh rahi hai or hame kam karneme nayi prerna mil rahi hai . so thanks to you! jai hind !

  17. Goodpal says:

    Thanyavad Premlata. Krupya padate rahiye aur baat karte rahiye. Jai Hind !!!

  18. Please don”t violate the pesa act in the scheduled areas, I request the states and national government of India.

  19. This pesa act is weapon for tribal people in scheduled areas but this weapon in governament hands.

  20. Goodpal says:

    Thank you Ravi Varma for sharing.

    Unfortunately the Indian government is following the US model of capitalism for development. So it is handing over all the natural resources, minerals and lands to the rich people. They will set up industries and businesses and India will have high GDP growth. In this model people, particularly the poor people, have no say in any thing. How they survive is God’s problem, they face hardship but that’s no one’s concern… India can’t develop properly by the western thinking and their textbook models.

    What Indian leaders should do is to follow the people development model of Amartya Sen. In this model, the country is not run by the rich and international corporations nor economy is the prime focus. But people become the focus of attention and their all round welfare becomes government’s responsibility.

    Therefore, all the laws for the protection of the poor or tribals have not much teeth, nor the leaders have the desire to implement.

    India needs strong leader from its own soil who understand its people from south to north and east to west. Foreign trained politicians and bureaucrats can only do what the West tells them to do.

    Please keep visiting. Have a good day!

  21. khangres says:

    When Rajiv Gandhi’s successors passed 73rd and 74th Amendments…….wat does it mean y put didnt u PVNR name

  22. Dr. Atrey Deore says:

    Its part of social justice but thats also their bith right which is exploited by society as well as government. Now this act giving them security still we have to creat awareness between them.

  23. Goodpal says:

    Very true Dr Atrey, Awareness and concern for their well being need boosting. They need to feel empowered to create change among them.

    • Bhushan R. Gharte says:

      पेसा कायद्याची संपूर्ण माहित हवी आहे.
      आणि आमचे गांव पेसा मुक्त करायचे आहे त्याविषयी मार्गदर्शन हवे आहे.

  24. haresh atala says:

    now days scenerio of tribal village is changing by pesa act this act boosted to tribal society. tribal society aware about this act before than.

  25. Pingback: SCHEDULED TRIBES AND SCHEDULED AREAS | Civil Services Preparation

  26. dr.kailash says:

    ppesa realy a very good act to prevent future danger of NATION within Nation

  27. yes this paparao adivasi advocate says as per the central pesa act every hamlet is as gramsabha but in present A.P. and Telangana States much more priority given to to form group of hamlets as gramsaba which is against the central act and section 5 of the act comprises powers in the A.P. to the mandal development officers only and the powers of the land acquisition is nominal if the land acquisition officer is not in consonance withe the recommendations of the MPP if he(L.A.Officer)
    passes an order against the recommendations of mpp and he shall record the reasons for doing so in writing the final decision in the hands of mpp to finalize the project without the gramsabha decision it is bad for tribals in the scheduled areas

  28. Prashant says:

    “When Rajiv Gandhi’s successors passed 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution to enact Panchayat and Nagarpalika Bills, they simply forgot that these do not automatically become applicable to Tribal and Scheduled Areas.”

    what does it mean??? is it that constitutional amendments do not automatically apply to tribal and scheduled areas ??? or did 73rd & 74th not apply because it was specifically mentioned (within amendments)that these would not apply to such areas??
    pls clarify

  29. Prashant says:

    reply asap

  30. pradeep shivaji sale says:

    Such a peas act should be implement in Maharashtra state also . because scheduld tribes are living in maharashtra also so such pesa act implemented in other state it should be implement in Maharashtra.

  31. Pingback: Tribal Anganwadi Workers Driven to Despair

  32. Pingback: Panchayat Raj (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 – Lets learn together

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