The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, or PESA is a law enacted by the Government of India for ensuring self-governance through traditional Gram Sabhas for people living in the Scheduled Areas of India. Panchayati Raj is the system of local self-governance of villages in rural India. It consists of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) tasked with, economic development, strengthening social justice, and implementation of Central and State Government Schemes, through which self-governance is realised. On April 24, 1993, the Constitutional (73rd Amendment) Act of 1992 came into force in India to provide constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. AROEHAN is celebrating PESA and Panchayat Raj Awareness Month from March 15th to April 2023 in accordance with the 25th anniversary of the declaration of the PESA Act, and the 30th anniversary of the Panchayat Raj Act.
We conducted awareness programmes in 150 hamlets of Mokhada, Jawhar, and Dahanu. In order to raise social consciousness in society, awareness rallies were held by AROEHAN with the participation of students and locals. AROEHAN conducted an exhibition for locals of the IEC material including booklets and posters on the Forest Rights Act, Ration Dakkshata Samiti, Maharashtra Gramin Yojana, Gram Sabha Kosh Samiti, and MGNREGA.
On April 11th, a PESA awareness programme was held in Banachiwadi. AROEHAN’s Pada Samiti and the newly elected PESA Gram Kosh Committee facilitated the programme. Sarpanch, Deputy Chairman, Zilla Parishad members, Agriculture Assistants, Anganwadi workers, and Gram Panchayat members were present in the programme. A Shivar Pheri was conducted to assess the needs in the village for the preparation of the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP). In the presence of 55 villagers, we raised awareness about the PESA Act and the rights and entitlements of the residents of tribal villages.