The Fifth Schedule areas are exempt from the Panchayat-related requirements of Part IX of the constitution. But, subject to, the Parliament may extend these regulations to such regions adjustments and exclusions as it may need. Below this “Provisions of the Act” that the Parliament has Act of 1996 known as the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act referred to as the Extension Act or the PESA Act.

Ten states now (as of 2019) have Fifth Schedule Areas. These are: Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Chhatisgarh. All the 10 states have passed the necessary compliance laws by making changes to the relevant Panchayati Raj Acts.

Features of the Act

The features (or the provisions) of the PESA Act are as follows:

1.A state’s laws concerning the Panchayats in the Scheduled Areas must adhere to local customary law, social customs, religious customs, and traditional management customs community assets.

2.A village is often made up of one or more homes, a group of homes, or a collection of hamlets that form a community and run their affairs in accordance with customs.

3.Each village must have a Gram Sabha made up of people.whose names are listed on the voter registration lists for the at the village level, panchayat.

4.Each Gram Sabha must have the authority to protect and uphold the people’s traditions, customs, cultural identity, local resources, and way of life settlement of disputes.

5.Before they are considered, every Gram Sabha must

  • Approve the plans, programs, and initiatives for social and economic development village-level implementation by the Panchayat.
  • Be in charge of determining the beneficiaries under programs for reducing poverty and other things.

6.Each Panchayat at the village level must receive a certificate from the Gram Sabha attesting to the use of money for the aforementioned plans, programs, and projects.

7.Every Panchayat’s reserved seats for people from Scheduled Areas must be distributed according to the number of people in such communities.

8.The Constitution’s ninth section. On the other hand, the reservation for the Scheduled Tribes must make up at least 50% of the total amount of seats. Additionally, all Chairpersons’ seats at all levels of Panchayats must be set aside for the Scheduled Tribes.

9.The Scheduled Tribes that are not represented in the district or intermediate level panchayats may be proposed by the state government. Even so the number of nominations cannot be more than one-tenth of all members in that Panchayat be chosen.

10.Before purchasing land in the Scheduled Areas for development projects and before resettling, the Gram Sabha or the relevant Panchayats must be contacted or helping those who were harmed by such programs in the planned Areas. However, the preparation and projects in the Scheduled Areas must be implemented in a state-level coordination.

11.Minor water bodies in Scheduled Areas must be planned for and managed by Panchayats at the proper level.

12.The necessary Gram Sabha or Panchayat recommendations must be followed in order to obtain a prospecting permit or mining license for minor minerals in the Scheduled Areas.

13.Granting a concession for the extraction of minor minerals through an auction requires the previous approval of the Gram Sabha or the relevant Panchayats. A State Legislature shall confer upon Panchayats in the Scheduled Areas such powers and authority as may be required to enable them to perform the functions of institutions of self-government must make certain that the Panchayats at the proper level and the Gram Sabha are especially gifted with:

  • The ability to prohibit, regulate, or impose restrictions on the use of any intoxicant; and the right to own minor forest products.
  • The ability to stop the alienation of land listed in Schedule Area.
  • To take the necessary steps to return any unjustly alienated property a Scheduled Tribe’s land the capability to control village markets.
  • The power to manage village markets.
  • The ability to exert control over the amount of money lent to Scheduled Tribes.
  • The ability to exert control over all social sectors’ institutions and functionaries.
  • Control over regional plans, resources, and tribe sub-plans for such purposes.

14.The State Legislations must include safeguards to prevent Panchayats at the higher level from assuming any Panchayat at the lower level or the Gram Sabha’s authority.

15.The State Legislature shall endeavour to follow the pattern of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution while designing the administrative arrangements in the Panchayats at district levels in the Scheduled Areas.

16.At the end of a year, any legislative provision (related to Panchayats in the Scheduled Areas) that is in conflict with the provisions of this Act shall be repealed. The day on which the President assents to this Act7 . However, all the Panchayats that were in place prior to such unless dissolved, the date will remain in effect until the end of its tenure earlier by the State Legislature.

Is the welfare-to-work program successful?

Even now, many disagree over whether the PRWORA was a success or a disaster. Critics claim that it put unfair obligations on low-income families, particularly those with children, while supporters claim that it successfully decreased government reliance and promoted workforce participation.

Child Poverty Concerns

The PRWORA was criticized for failing to appropriately address child poverty. The time constraints and job demands may have negative effects on kids in households that struggle to secure permanent employment.

State Inequalities

Welfare policy variations between states have been a topic of discussion for years. According to critics, depending on where they live, low-income people and families now have uneven access to benefits and support.

The Immigration Issue

The treatment of legal immigrants under the PRWORA is still up for debate. Advocates for immigrants’ rights as well as certain legislators are still calling for more welcoming and humane immigration laws.

Past and Current Debates

The American welfare system and the larger social safety net were significantly impacted by the Pesa Act of 1996. Discussions over social assistance policies, poverty alleviation strategies, and welfare reform continue to be influenced by its legacy.

Debates on welfare reform

The Pesa Act ignited continuing discussions about how the government should combat poverty and assist low-income households. The focus of these conversations is on problems like the right amount of safety nets and work requirements, the length of benefits, and the role of states in running social systems.

Taking Child Poverty Seriously

There are ongoing disputes in the United States concerning the effectiveness of aid programs, the availability of inexpensive childcare, and the requirement for all-encompassing anti-poverty policies.

Public Assistance and Immigration

Welfare policies’ handling of immigrants is a contentious topic in American politics. The impact of these limitations on immigrant communities and the question of whether legal immigrants should have access to public services continue to be contentious issues.

The Pesa Act, also known as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, was a game-changing piece of legislation that altered the welfare system in the United States. While it was successful in lowering welfare caseloads and raising labor force participation, it also generated controversy by imposing contentious limitations on legal immigrants’ access to public benefits and raising worries about vulnerable groups, notably families with children. The Pesa Act has left a lasting legacy that continues to influence discussions about social assistance, poverty reduction, and welfare reform in the US. Recognizing the Pesa’s historical background, important clauses, effects, and conflicts.


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