ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Human Rights vs Contract Law in Arbitration Mechanisms

The consideration of human rights is often kept out of international investment arbitration proceedings. This can be related to the privileging of contract law in a market society and the differences in values underlying contract law and human rights. The tension between different kinds of laws can be viewed as being irreconcilable or as reflecting a Polanyian “double-movement.”

Rural Drinking Water Reforms in Maharashtra: The Role of Neoliberalism

Even as the recent financial crisis has led to a questioning of the ideological regimes that have been dominant since the 1990s in India, the processes that have already been set in motion - for instance, as a result of reforms in the water sector - are yet to be completely understood. This paper attempts to draw on the critical literature to understand the role and meaning of neoliberalism, particularly in the context of the rural drinking water reforms in Maharashtra. While the influence of neoliberalism cannot be understood as something that determines the course of the reforms in an absolute sense, its varied and often insidious channels of operation imply that its influence cannot be taken lightly either. This, in turn, has implications for the kind of political position that one takes on the reforms as well as for future research directions.

Water: Perspectives of Governance

Water: Perspectives of Governance and institutional reforms, including participatory irrigation management (PIM) and the establishment of tradable water Priya Sangameswaran rights, are presented uncritically (for in Governance of Water: Institutional Alternatives and Political Economy brings together a number of different perspectives on some of the major issues being debated in water today such as cost recovery, institutions for local collective action, groundwater management, and multistakeholder participation. Bringing together papers that were first presented at a workshop at the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) in 2004, the book raises pertinent, and at times provocative, questions and is therefore worth a read, even though the quality of the individual essays is uneven, and the rapid changes in the water sector have meant that some of the issues discussed in the book have already taken on their own trajectories.

24/7, 'Privatisation' and Water Reform: Insights from Hubli-Dharwad

A variety of water reforms are being undertaken in different parts of the country. This paper discusses a project in the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad in north Karnataka, a pilot for 24/7 functioning as well as for the institutional and other changes required for private sector participation in urban areas. Three specific aspects of the project are discussed - the need and feasibility of the concept of 24/7, institutional relations and equity. The experience to date indicates that critical concerns along all three fronts remain, and need to be engaged with more carefully before institutionalising processes that would be difficult to reverse in the future.

Equity in Watershed Development

The village of Hivre Bazar in western Maharashtra is now well known in NGO and governmental circles for its social and economic changes following watershed development. This paper discusses the extent to which these changes have been equitable, with a particular focus on equity across different landholding categories. The equity outcome in Hivre Bazar is better than in many other watershed programmes, mainly due to the use of watershed-plus and other attenuating measures. As such, it is a good example of how certain kinds of equity concerns can be taken up and implemented with local initiative. However, there are also limitations in the equity outcome, which raise important questions for future water interventions.
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