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Empowering Tribes: Ministry of Panchayati Raj Launches PESA Strengthening Conference in Pune

The main objective of the Regional Conference is to assess the progress made by States in implementing the PESA Act and to develop a common vision for its impact at the grassroots level.

Shivam Dwivedi
Empowering Tribes: Ministry of Panchayati Raj Launches PESA Strengthening Conference in Pune (Photo Source: PIB)
Empowering Tribes: Ministry of Panchayati Raj Launches PESA Strengthening Conference in Pune (Photo Source: PIB)

In a significant move towards bolstering the implementation of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA Act), Secretary of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Vivek Bharadwaj, inaugurated a Two-Day Regional Conference on Strengthening PESA in Pune, Maharashtra. The conference, held on January 11th and 12th, witnessed the presence of key officials, including Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar, Additional Secretary, and Mamta Varma, Joint Secretary, along with Eknath Dawale, Principal Secretary, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Department, Government of Maharashtra.

Prime Minister's Vision Emphasized

In his address, Vivek Bharadwaj commended the participating States for their commitment to tribal empowerment and shed light on the impact of the PESA Act on tribal communities. Highlighting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision, Bharadwaj emphasized the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. This initiative is designed to comprehensively support tribal communities, particularly focusing on the Recently launched PM JANMAN Mission.

Call for Continuous Improvement

Bharadwaj stressed the need for continuous improvement in the implementation of the PESA Act, recognizing its pivotal role in promoting the social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of Scheduled Tribes. He urged reforms to be centered around the welfare of tribal areas, promoting equity, equality, economic empowerment, and sustainable livelihoods.

Data-Driven Approach and Reforms

Addressing the conference, Additional Secretary Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar advocated for a data-driven approach to policy formulation in PESA areas. He recommended the establishment of a dedicated Management Information System (MIS) for real-time information and emphasized aligning Development Plans with PESA in GPDP Guidelines.

Effective Planning and Compliance

Joint Secretary Mamta Varma highlighted the importance of tools like GramManchitra for effective planning in PESA-designated areas. She provided insights into the ongoing formulation of PESA rules by various States and stressed the need for compliance with PESA Rules.

Transformative Impact of PESA Act

Principal Secretary Eknath Dawale emphasized the transformative impact of implementing the PESA Act. He highlighted the shift from delivering benefits to empowering tribal communities through informed participation. Dawale also stressed the need for effective fund convergence in PESA areas, expressing hope for more deliberation on utilizing funds efficiently.

Regional Collaboration for Sustainable Development

The Regional Conference, attended by representatives from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh, aimed at fostering collaboration and discussions on enhancing the implementation of the PESA Act. Deliberations covered key themes such as the effectiveness of Gram Sabhas, management of minor forest produce and minerals, and the role of non-government stakeholders.

The event is expected to culminate in actionable insights and recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of the PESA Act in promoting the welfare and sustainable development of tribal communities.

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