ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rejuvenating Irrigation Tanks through Local Institutions

Recent attempts to modernise irrigation tanks with a focus on physical rehabilitation, but little institutional development to maintain and manage them, have resulted in a vicious cycle. With the lack of maintenance and upkeep, rehabilitated tanks soon fall into disrepair, necessitating a new round of externally-induced rehabilitation. Yet, there are many tanks under traditional local management operating at a high level of performance equilibrium. A study of 41 tanks from 22 districts of eight Indian states was taken up under the IWMI-Tata Programme to identify the characteristics of high performing local-managed tank institutions. The lessons learnt from the study can form the basis for an effective institutional protocol that can enhance the effectiveness of tank rehabilitation and modernisation.

Irrigation Institutions in a Dynamic Economy

India's water sector is crying for institutional and policy reforms. Its public irrigation systems are performing far below par. As a direct consequence, farmers are turning to groundwater for their irrigation needs. Booming groundwater irrigation has become the mainstay of Indian farming but it has also all but wrecked the country's power economy because of perverse policies of pricing of electricity for agriculture. Yet, there is no firm strategy of dealing with these and other challenges. Other south Asian countries are in much the same boat. Based on two spells of fieldwork in six provinces of north China, this article shows that, facing much the same problems as its south Asian neighbours, China is responding differently to its water problems. This is by no means a suggestion that the approaches China is trying out would work in India - or even in China itself. However, by including China's experience in its discussions, Indian policy-makers will clearly have a wider repertoire of institutional alternatives with which to experiment.

Water and Welfare

The burgeoning groundwater irrigation economy is destined to collapse under its own weight, especially if tubewell numbers continue to grow at the rate they have since 1990. Increasing failure of wells and resultant farmer suicides are an indication of the shape of things to come. ITP has conducted a collaborative inter-disciplinary research programme on such local and national water policy issues and discussion papers that capture its results were presented at a recent three-day meet.

Water Sector Reforms in Mexico

This paper analyses a decade of water sector reforms in Mexico with the specific purpose of drawing useful lessons for Indian water policy. Particularly after 1992, Mexico has implemented serious, comprehensive and far-reaching water sector reforms that required the government to create a new legal framework; restructure existing water administration; promote and support a plurality of new autonomous and quasi-autonomous water institutions; modify incentives in water use to different user groups; and struggle with a vast complex of unresolved operational issues in implementing the reforms. Mexico may not be a model for India but Mexico's experience does suggest that changing the way a nation manages its water resources necessitates far-reaching changes in administration, institutional structure, law and operating rules, incentives and power structures, and above all consistent commitment to the reform process.

Global Groundwater Situation

It is widely predicted that problems of groundwater overexploitation will become more acute and widespread. The challenge then is not merely supply-side innovations but to set in place a range of corrective mechanisms that would involve a shift from resource development towards resource management. Countries with severe groundwater depletion still remain hampered however by lack of information. Not only is there no systematic monitoring of groundwater occurrence and draft, but management of such resources has for long remained in private informal channels, with public agencies playing only an indirect role.

Revitalisation of Irrigation Tanks in Rajasthan

This paper is based on a larger study which was carried out to assess the socio-ecological importance of irrigation tanks, organisational capabilities of the department and local non-governmental organisations on the rehabilitation of irrigation tanks in Rajasthan. The paper provides the background of irrigation tanks, and justification for their pivotal role; and describes the approach that we have evolved to rehabilitate these tanks in Rajasthan.

Water Markets in North Bihar

This paper presents key results and analysis of a field study of the role of pump irrigation markets in the agrarian transformation of six villages of the Muzaffarpur district in north Bihar. Pump irrigation markets have emerged as a robust and dominant irrigation institution serving as virtually the sole powerhouse energising north Bihar*s new-found agrarian dynamism. Three criteria used to assess the performance of water markets were depth, breadth and efficiency. Their impacts were analysed on four variables: cropping intensity, cropping patterns, labour use and crop yields. Water markets in the region have developed a high level of depth and breadth, but they are highly inefficient, generating large monopoly rents for pump owners. These produce powerful negative distributive impact; however, the output impact of monopoly pricing by water sellers is negligible because of the price inelasticity of irrigation demand explained by its high marginal productivity. The overall impact of water markets are highly beneficial; crop yield and cropping intensity achieved by water buyers are far superior to non-irrigatorst and in many cases even in comparison to pump owners; cropping patterns used by water buyers are nearly the same as of pump owners; finally, operation of water markets substantially expands labour use in agriculture. Abysmal power supply environment is a major barrier to fuller development of equitable water markets; equally critical to promoting efficiency and equity in these markets are the prices and supply of diesel for pumping.

Role of Design and Informal Share Markets in Success of Sugar Co-operatives

Success of Sugar Co-operatives R Rajagopalan Tushaar Shah Why have sugar co-operatives done so outstandingly well in south Gujarat and Maharashtra? Central to their success are three important features of their design which enable the interests of thousands of cane growers to coalesce into a powerful member organisation, which operates as an engine of wealth generation for its members and remains member-oriented through a patronage cohesive governance structure. A major institution that supports patronage cohesive governance is the informal and yet dynamic market in the shares of these co-operatives in south Gujarat. The prices these shares command are important to their owners as: (a) a form of wealth, (b) a performance index, and (c) an instrument of member control As a robust if imperfect summary index of management performance on which information is available widely and openly, this market price of the co-operative's share encourages the board and management to continually search for and adopt member-oriented policies.

Agriculture and Rural Development in 1990s and Beyond-Redesigning Relations between State and Institutions of Development

Beyond Redesigning Relations between State and Institutions of Development Tushaar Shah In the India on the threshold of the 21st century, orthodox economic planning is unlikely to prepare the nation to meet the challenge of rapid agricultural and rural employment growth that it has failed to tackle so far. More is wrong with India than just the planning of her resource generation and allocation. What India needs to do most is to focus, above all else, on devising radical and innovative'strategies that can yield and sustain 5-7 per cent annual growth rate in the value of output of the agricultural sector; and recent experience suggests that in nations which have secured anywhere near such high growth rates, the state and its institutions of economic development have done more than just orthodox economic planning. This seemingly unachievable goal can be achieved, but only by redesigning the chemistry between the state and our institutions of economic development

Sustainable Development of Groundwater Resource-Lessons from Junagadh District

Sustainable Development of Groundwater Resource Lessons from Junagadh District Tushaar Shah Introduction AMRAPUR and Husseinabad, two villages in Junagadh district represent the conditions that obtain in much of the coastal belt of Saurashtra which, until a decade ago, was so green and agriculturally prosperous as to be popularly called Mill itagher' (green creeper). Intensive groundwater irrigation with the onset of the modern pumping technologies in the mid-1950s was all along central to this rural prosperity. Under an encouraging government policy which made subsidies and credit freely available for intensive private groundwater development, the installation of wells with diesel engines or electric pumps increased at a rapid pace especially since 1960; in many areas, water loving crops such as sugarcane, banana, fruit orchards, etc, began to replace traditional crops. Three crops a year became quite common with the help of motorised wells. The amount of water lifted from the coastal aquifers between any two monsoons increased over 10-15 times. As a result, by the late 1960s, the fragile coastal groundwater balance began to develop cracks; in some of the uplying areas, such as Amrapur, separated from the sea by a natural ridge, wells began to dry up in late rabi and summer seasons as happens in the hard rock areas of the south-Indian peninsula; more seriously, in low lying areas closer to the sea, large and increasing areas experienced intrusion of sea water into their wells.

Unconvincing Critique of Operation Flood

Dairy Aid and Development: India's Operation Flood by Martin Doom- bos, Frank van Dorsten, Manoshi Mitra and Piet Terhal; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1990.

Ground Water Markets and Small Farmer-Development

Development Tushaar Shah K Vengama Raju Localised, fragmented, village based ground water markets, the off-shoot or wide spread diffusion of modern water extraction technology in India, are far more pervasive and important than most researchers and policy makers imagine. Due to their responsiveness to certain public policy interventions, such water markets have the potential to become powerful instruments for efficient and equitable ground water development This paper presents an argument about how the working of such markets could be influenced and examines empirical evidence in two markedly similar villages selected from the west Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh and the Kheda district of Gujarat. The paper highlights the differential impact of public policies followed by the two states on the terms of business; and the output and livelihood intensities of ground water markets of these two villages.


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