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Jharkhand govt vs Adivasis | Gram vikas samiti to suppress PESA act?

By Web Desk

February 08, 2018

PESA (empowering Gram Sabha) an Act of Parliament REPLACED by an oral announcement of ‘Gram Vikas Samiti’ by CM of Jharkhand, Raghubar Das. For one thing, Jharkhand govt has not seriously implemented the PESA Act of 1996 which gives clearly defined powers to Gram Sabha.

Adivasi or Gram Vikas Samiti (GVS) is to be set up in all the 32,000 villages of Jharkhand in view of bringing about development in each village.Let us bear in mind, PESA Act is an Act of the Parliament which has deliberately been left unimplemented. Now just before the central & state elections are due to take place, Jhrkandkd govt is attempting to show that it has at long last woken to the need for rural development.

A comparison of PESA and GVS will bring out the contradictions: (1) PESA is an act of Parliament WHEREAS Gram Vikas Samiti [GVS] is an off-hand announcement by the Chief Minister of Jharkhand in a public meeting; (2) PESA empowers Gram Sabha for overall self-governance WHEREAS Gram Vikas Samiti primarily focuses on water management as well as all development activities; (3) PESA aims to achieve its goal through Gram Sabha WHEREAS Gram Vikas Samiti sets up a small development committee; (4) PESA empowers the Adivasi traditional leader as the President WHEREAS Gram Vikas Samiti prescribes that a woman be the President without specifying through what process she will be selected/elected; (5) PESA stipulates that all the members of the village community above the age of 18 will compose the Gram Sabha WHEREAS Gram Vikas Samiti appoints a Secretary between 18-35 years of age, again without specifying the mode of selection/election; (6) PESA empowers the whole village community to choose the beneficiaries for govt’s welfare schemes WHEREAS Gram Vikas Samiti leaves it to the discretion of the President and Secretary; the role of village community is not mentioned. [source of info on Adivasi or Gram Vikas Samiti: Prabhat Khabar, Ranchi ed., 6-2-2018]

Points of concern:

1) Jharkhand govt is guilty of not implementing PESA Act,1996 because the Act gives significant powers to Gram Sabha; 2) The off-hand announcement of setting up Gram Vikas Samiti in all 32,000 villages is not to be taken seriously… it is in view of the forthcoming election! 3) Completely ignoring the traditional system and leadership of Adivasi community is an insult to the Adivasi People; 4) All Jharkhandi parties, people’s movements/organizations should come together to denounce this casual treatment of Adivasi, Moolvasi People of the State. source