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Two-Day Regional Conference on Strengthening of PESA today at Pune, Maharashtra

Two-Day Regional Conference on Strengthening of PESA Kickstarted at Pune

Government Officials and Stakeholders Converge to Enhance Tribal Empowerment

Pune: In a significant step towards bolstering tribal empowerment, Secretary of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Shri Vivek Bharadwaj, inaugurated the Two-Day Regional Conference on the Strengthening of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, commonly known as PESA. The event, held in Pune, Maharashtra, witnessed the presence of eminent government officials, including Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar, Additional Secretary, and Smt. Mamta Varma, Joint Secretary. Shri Eknath Dawale, Principal Secretary of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Department, Government of Maharashtra, also graced the occasion.

In his inaugural address, Shri Vivek Bharadwaj commended the participating states for their commitment and highlighted the profound impact of the PESA Act on tribal communities. Sharing insights into the challenges faced by these communities, the Secretary emphasized the government’s dedication to empowering tribal groups. He particularly emphasized the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN) by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, designed to provide comprehensive support to tribal communities.

Shri Bharadwaj underscored the importance of continuous improvement in implementing the PESA Act, recognizing its role in promoting the social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of Scheduled Tribes. He highlighted the need for reforms centered around welfare, equity, equality, economic empowerment, and sustainable livelihoods in tribal areas.

The Secretary expressed optimism that the Regional Conference of PESA would serve as a platform for fruitful discussions, sharing best practices, and exploring collaborative strategies. He urged participating states to work collectively to create a more inclusive and empowered environment for tribal populations residing in Scheduled Areas.

Additional Secretary Dr. Chandra Shekhar Kumar emphasized the need for a data-driven approach to policy formulation in PESA areas. He recommended reforms to strengthen Gram Sabhas, advocating for a dedicated Management Information System (MIS) for real-time information and aligning Development Plans with PESA in Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) Guidelines.

Joint Secretary Smt. Mamta Varma, in her presentation, provided an overview of PESA Rules compliance, emphasizing the use of tools like Gram Manchitra for effective planning. She highlighted ongoing efforts by various states in formulating PESA rules and the significance of tools like Gram Manchitra in facilitating efficient planning in PESA-designated areas.

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

The Regional Conference, attended by representatives from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh, aims to assess the progress made in implementing the PESA Act and develop a common vision for its impact at the grassroots level. Over the two days, technical sessions, discussions, and presentations will facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration among stakeholders, culminating in actionable insights to enhance the effectiveness of the PESA Act for the welfare and sustainable development of tribal communities.

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