Centre committed to protection of tribal rights: Jual Oram

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Jual Oram Sunday said the Centre is committed to protecting the rights of tribals.

He was speaking at the valedictory function of the two-day workshop on effective implementation of Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act 1996 at the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj here.

Oram said the fundamental spirit of the PESA Act devolves power and authority to gram sabhas and panchayats than delegation, an official release quoted him as saying.

The states need to implement it more effectively and endow powers and authority to make gram sabhas and panchayats function as institutions of local governance, he said.

This will lead to enforcing prohibition of sale and consumption of alcohol, ownership of minor forest produce and restoration of unlawfully alienated land, he added.

Oram further said that the ministries of Forests, Tribal Affairs and Panchayat Raj have to work together and collaborate for effective implementation of the Act.

The PESA Act is a special Act by the Parliament to facilitate a separate and progressive legal and administrative regime of rural India, the release said.

The Act came into force on December 24, 1996 in the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and also Telangana, the release added.