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Tapping Local Resources to Increase Panchayat Incomes

The performance of the panchayati raj institutions is often hit by a financial crunch. To overcome this crisis, one should accept that there is nothing unethical in making extensive use of service taxes/user charges or delivering civic and other developmental services to the poor. One such area which has a high tax potential and tax buoyancy and remains untapped by many states is common property resources. This paper discusses the different dimensions of such resources in our panchayats, their utilisation status, their extent, the hurdles and roadblocks in exploiting them, management and environmental concerns from different stakeholders' viewpoints, and it lists observations and recommendations of a blueprint for the future.

Tapping Local Resources to Increase Panchayat Incomes

The performance of the panchayati raj institutions is often hit by a financial crunch. To overcome this crisis, one should accept that there is nothing unethical in making extensive use of service taxes/user charges or delivering civic and other developmental services to the poor. One such area which has a high tax potential and tax buoyancy and remains untapped by many states is common property resources. This paper discusses the different dimensions of such resources in our panchayats, their utilisation status, their extent, the hurdles and roadblocks in exploiting them, management and environmental concerns from different stakeholders’ viewpoints, and it lists observations and recommendations of a blueprint for the future.

SUBROTO DHAR

I Introduction

T
he 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1992 concerning the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), together with reviving the traditional Indian village set-up, aimed at decentralising governance and powers, increasing people’s participation and ensuring grassroot planning. Most of the states (which already did not have PRIs) immediately leapt forward to enact and implement conformity acts in their states. Now, that more than a decade has passed since their implementation, it may be worthwhile to critically analyse the results and reasons behind their success and failure.

Most states have had their second round of elections to the PRIs, at all the three-tiers – the zillas, talukas and villages – have set-up necessary executive structures with well-defined functions and have produced the second generation of state finance commission (SFC) reports dealing with the decentralisation process as mandated by the Constitution. However, implementation of the recommendations of the SFCs has been fractured and haphazard. Similarly constitution of district planning committees at the district level and gram sabhas at the village level has been sporadic. The whole exercise of mode of elections, reservation of seats, devolution of functions, powers and resources of panchayats, auditing system, etc, also has not been satisfactory. In fact, though most of the mandatory provisions of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act have been complied, the discretionary provisions are still wide open.

As a result, the three-tiers of the panchayati raj system in many states just had functions to perform without adequate resources and functionaries. It was being argued, that even if the states, while abdicating their powers and functions concerning the villages and local bodies to the local bodies, had agreed to transfer the requisite funds to them, they would not have to incur a greater deficit on the revenue account by virtue of such transfers alone. In fact, there would have been gains in efficiency due to this decentralisation. But most states choose not to hand over finances/ resources to the local bodies. In the meantime, “more” roadblocks have been created against this financial transfers and parallel and alternative channels of transfers have come up through MPs’ and MLAs’ area development schemes in addition to the numerous centrally-sponsored schemes.

There is no use in harping on lack/deficiency of financial resources as the constraint of the PRIs to perform their mandatory and discretionary functions. To make PRIs stronger, just as better tax collection authorities are required, wider and deeper tax nets need to be employed. One should accept that there is nothing unethical in making extensive use of service taxes/user charges for delivering civic and other developmental services to the rural people. One such area, which has high tax potential and tax buoyancy and remains untapped by many states, is the utilisation of common property resources (CPRs) of PRIs. The state finance commission reports of Haryana and Punjab have shown that around 70 per cent of “own tax resources” of the panchayats in these states are obtained through leasing common or “shamlat” land only. Panchayats in several other states also exploit their common property land and water resources to earn taxes, duties, tolls and fees. Utilising these resources in a planned manner with long-term perspectives may be the key for many of the panchayats to strengthen themselves, today and for days to come.

This paper discusses the different dimensions of CPRs in Indian panchayats, their present utilisation status, their extent together with untapped areas and segments, hurdles and road blocks in exploiting them, their management and environmental concerns from different stakeholders’ point of view, and list out observations and recommendations of a blueprint of future advances.

II Dimensions of CPRs

The CPRs refer to all such resources which are accessible to the whole community and to which no individual has exclusive property rights. It primarily refers to the natural resources and for our purpose, the land and water bodies within and around the local bodies. Unfortunately, there are no official estimation regarding their area, magnitude, content and variation and the revenue, irrigation and forest records available are either incomplete or outdated. On the contrary, the panchayats and the local people are often the best and reliable sources of record. This is because most communities in India had an access to all types

Economic and Political Weekly April 8, 2006 of “commons”, by tradition or by convention and it was only land reforms and modern legislations that brought in the changes in rights of ownership, size and status of landholdings.

The common property land resources include village pasture and grazing lands, village forests and woodlots, protected and unclassed government forests, wasteland, common threshing grounds and village common lands. Resources owned or held by an individual, or a family or an organisation like a company or corporation or cooperative are not considered “common”. However, if the members of the cooperative are co-users of the resources, it could be termed as a common property.

The dependence on the CPRs has been substantial and its benefit to the population plays an important role in the rural economy; the fuelwood and shrubs available are used for cooking and heating, leaves and shrubs are used as animal fodder; bamboo, small timber and palm leaves for housing and a variety of food, fruits and vegetables for sustenance. They provide manure for cultivation; raw materials and common pastures for grazing. The village lands also provide for social functions and gatherings, markets and “melas”, parks, roads, playgrounds and for temporary agricultural activities. However, due to lack of proper assessment and vigilance of these resources, it has been difficult to measure these benefits in qualitative and quantitative terms.

The common property water resources (CPWRs) are the ponds and tanks, rivers and rivulets, water reservoirs, canals, irrigation canals and watershed drainages. A typical Indian village uses a number of water sources usually of different types for meeting their needs, e g, drinking, bathing and washing. These sources also provide water for irrigation, feeding and washing of livestocks, fishings and other jobs. Irrigation, fishing and livestock rearing sources, have important resources-augmenting roles in the private property-based farming system. Though some of them are owned by individuals, many of them are community-owned.

Some researchers have attempted to quantify the magnitude of common property land resources in India from land use statistics and data available through satellite from the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA). The survey results from National Sample Survey (NSS) 54th round for 1998 is the other alternative sources providing data both for land and water resources. In India, water resources are generally managed jointly by the government and the local communities. The National Water Policy, 2002, considers most of these water resources and the viewpoints of all the stakeholders for the formation of policy on water resources. Apart from this and the NSSO results, Anil Agarwal and Sunita Narain have provided some estimate of the extent of these water resources.

Though it is a common perception that the CPRs are used by the poor and tribals, a closer insight may reveal that, it is not only the rural poor who benefit from the use of CPRs. It is true that a majority of rural households depend on CPR land for requirement of fuelwood, fodder, bamboo, fish, medicinal plants and herbs, leaf biomass and fruits which they collect. However, the collection is done for both consumption and sale. A large amount of these resources collected from common property land and water resources as well as village forests, are transferred to entrepreneurs and other business organisations directly or indirectly through rural poor with only a token benefit accruing to them. Rural households who possess large areas of agricultural land and may be termed as the rural rich, do take huge benefits of these common property resources both legally and illegally, without having to dole out anything. The set-up and the magnitudes, of course, varies over time and space.

Indiscriminate use of CPRs without proper protection, regulation and regeneration programmes leads to physical degradation of CPR – decline in grazing capacity of land, density of trees, shrubs, ponds, number of fishes in ponds and in their biodiversity. The traditional rural and tribal communities gave importance to these aspects as they depended on their sustainability. With concepts of private and state rights, new management principles and laws have to be brought in as safeguards, like the Supreme Court verdict of 2002 on felling of forest trees for revenue purposes.

Panchayats through state legislations are being empowered to take up responsibilities of different sectors, plan their developments and implement the plans. Under Article 243 G of the Constitution the Eleventh Schedule specifies some of the sectors that panchayats should manage: (a) minor irrigation, water management and watershed development, (b) minor forest produce, (c) social forestry and farm forestry, (d) fuel and fodder,

  • (e) maintenance of community assets, (f) markets and fairs,
  • (g) fisheries, (h) animal husbandry, dairying and poultry, (i) land improvement, soil conservation; (j) agricultural extension,
  • (k) drinking water, and (l) health and sanitation.
  • Clearly activities in many of these sectors fall under CPR management and if panchayats are able to exercise their delegated powers, these stakeholders at the grassroot level get an opportunity to formulate plans for their own betterment. The high level committee (Dharia Committee) of 1994 of the ministry of rural development voiced a similar view.

    III Present Use of CPRs

    Researchers have listed out the motivations or objectives before the state for governance and management of CPRs as

    (a) benevolence (b) revenue-maximisation and (c) policing. Whereas policing and benevolence for sustainable development may have more of non-tangible aspects and, therefore, not measurable, “revenue maximisation” as a objective can be quantified. The different taxes, fees, levies and duties can be approximately modulated and increased, within the available potential tax-framework to satisfy the criteria of revenue maximisation and optimise the total quantum.

    The states of Punjab and Haryana have shown the use of shamlat (common) land in increasing own tax revenues. In fact, from 1990-91 to 1994-95, the source of more than 70 per cent of own tax revenue for the panchayats of Haryana was leased money from common land (report of the first state finance commission). In Punjab, for the years 1997-98 to 1999-2000, the revenue from leasing panchayat land stood at 75-80 per cent of the total revenue earned by the panchayats of the state (report of the states second SFC). Within the state, however, the income from leased land differs widely among the districts, depending on the extent of total shamlat land, the rates fixed up, the extent of encroachment and various other factors like irrigation facilities.

    SFC reports of many other states also show that the state had gained considerable revenue by levying and collecting different taxes and duties relating to CPRs at different tiers of the state panchayat raj system (Annexure). Whereas most states have used/ employed them at the village panchayat levels, some states have used the taluka and district panchayats also to collect revenue.

    Economic and Political Weekly April 8, 2006

    The taxes collected are mainly on account of temporary occupation of common village sites for bazaars, “haats”, markets, “melas”, for grazing of cattle, for building temporary erections for “tonga” and auto stands, etc, and for fishing in ponds. Only a few states have gone for collecting revenues through leasing out common property village lands. Even the states that have collected CPRs so, are far from complacent regarding the rates charged. Noticing the expanding scope for revenue augmentation, these states have decided to develop more wasteland to form panchayat shamlat lands.

    IV Hurdles in Reclamation of Land and Other Resources

    That the states are revenue starved, though enough revenue potentials exist is clear. There are several reasons behind their deplorable state of affairs. Some of the strangling bottlenecks in the existence of panchayats are:

  • (a) Most panchayats do not maintain registers on immovable properties vested to them by the act. They do not have sufficient access to the government land, irrigation or forest records of the area around their villages. Even where such records exist and the panchayats have access to such records, the records are often out-dated as they are not annually revised on the basis of physical verification of the assets. The latest entries physically verified as panchayat properties are often more than two decades old and it is highly probable that land properties listed in the register as owned by panchayats may not have remained with the panchayat authorities till date; though some lands are used for development purposes like laying roads or constructing housing colonies for the poor, others may have just been pilfered.
  • (b) The encroachment on common vacant land and water resources by the elites and power-that-be in the villages safely goes unnoticed. The panchayats often turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to such complaints. Panchayats are also not empowered to take actions against the wrongdoers as many of them may be part of the panchayats.
  • (c) Even if cases are filed against such illegal occupations or encroachment of panchayat properties, the proceedings are unnecessarily delayed and judgments are kept at abeyance for decades. As the matter remains sub judice, the encroachers safely use them and acquires the right of these CPRs.
  • (d) The state government’s departments are also slow in transferring rights of the CPRs to the panchayats. Unless the control of
  • Table 1: Availability of Common Property Land Resourcesin Rural India

    Item Estimate

    1 2 3 4 5 Percentage of common property land resources intotal geographical areaCommon property land resources per household (ha)Average household sizeCommon property land resources per capita (ha)Components of common property land resources:(Percentage*)Community pastures and grazing grounds Village forests and woodlots Other 15 0.31 5.04 0.06 23 (3.45 per cent)16 (2.40 per cent)61
    (9.15 per cent)

    Notes: The figures in parentheses in Item 5 represent percentage to geographical area.

    * Break-up of Item 1.

    the state loosens up to make way for the panchayats, the rights to tax or fix duties, do not lead to the revenue increase. Just as the state governments should be benevolent in giving up their control, the panchayats should ensure that all immovable properties statutorily vested with the panchayats are transferred or restored.

    (e) Some researchers have pointed out that with the advance of globalisation, the CPR lands and lakes are being used for floriculture or prawn aquaculture to serve the global markets. Minings in CPR lands have also been reported. Though today this seems as hurdles, it is obvious that these are avenues that may help the panchayats to earn larger revenues in future. The caveat of maintaining the local biodiversity and for appropriate regeneration of degraded land and water resources, however, should not be overlooked.

    V Availability and Management of CPRs

    (a) NSSO Survey Results

    An enquiry on CPRs was conducted during January-June 1998 as a part of the 54th Round Survey of the National Sample Survey Organisation. The enquiry was carried out in the rural areas of the entire country through a household survey based on random sampling. The aim of the survey was to assess the role of CPRs in the life and economy of the rural people.

    Two schedules of enquiry were issued for data collection, one was meant for collection of information on availability of different kinds of CPRs and the other was meant for recording information on utilisation of the CPRs by the household.

    The common property land resources have been studied for differences in interstate variations and for variations in different agro-climatic zones. The area of CPR land by this survey was estimated at around 15 per cent of the geographical areas and was somewhat close to 22 per cent obtained by earlier researchers (This, of course, included protected and classified forest with area 9 per cent.) The estimates on benefits accruing from CPRs have also been tabulated in the report. About half of the rural household is seen to collect some material or other from CPRs. Table 1 gives the estimate of availability of common land resources whereas Table 2 gives the use to which these resources are put to.

    Using the estimated number of households for each state and the average value of collections from CPRs as given in Table 3, the total value of collections from CPRs can be estimated. For all-India the estimated value of collections from CPRs is of the tune of Rs 9,346 crore (for 15 major states). It is important to note that for this estimate, only benefits accruing from CPRs which can be quantified in money terms have been included. Other intangible benefits that can be derived, namely, from grazing livestock and irrigating land, were not included as it is

    Table 2: Use of Common Property Resources

    Item Estimate

    1 Households reporting collection of any material

    from CPRs (per cent) 48 2 Average value of annual collections per household Rs 693 3 Ratio of average value of collection to average value

    of consumption expenditure (per cent) 3.02 4 Households reporting grazing of livestock on CPRs (per cent) 20 5 Households reporting use of common water resources for:

  • (i) Irrigation (per cent) 23
  • (ii) Livestock rearing (per cent) 30
  • (iii) Household enterprise (per cent) 2.8

    Economic and Political Weekly April 8, 2006 difficult to measure their benefits in quantitative terms. More importantly, revenue that could have been earned by leasing of panchayat land and water revenues, as is done in the states of Punjab and Haryana, do not figure at all in our calculations. The Rs 9,346 crore lost annually due to free collection, may be only a fraction of what CPR and CPWR could offer to the panchayats.

    Though it is widely accepted that the rural poor depends substantially on the materials available from the CPRs for their sustenance, the data collected by the survey shows that this hypothesis may not always be true. The households for the survey were classified into five broad categories on the basis of land possessed by them, which was a close proxy to the income levels of the households. The two extreme categories for the survey were:

    (a) rural labour households – where income comes from manual labour, (b) households with land possessed 1 ha or more

    The survey results show that the value of commodities/materials collected by those owning land of one ha and above is higher than the value of commodities/materials collected by the rural labour households for Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.

    As regards the non-domestic use of CPWRs, the survey has produced estimates on number of households reporting use of community water resources, namely, for irrigation, livestock rearing, household enterprises and fishing. The result shows that 30 per cent and 23 per cent of the rural households use these resources respectively for livestock rearing and irrigation. About 3 per cent of the households use these resources for fishing purposes and another 3 per cent for setting up household enterprises.

    Also 33 per cent households owning land of one ha and above (the richer households) use irrigation facilities as compared to its use by the 14 per cent of the rural labour households. Even in case of livestock rearing at all-India level, 46 per cent of the households owning land of one ha and above, use the community resources as compared to the 24 per cent of the rural labour households, emphasising that larger exploitation of CPRs and CPWRs is done by the comparatively richer households.

    (b) Management of CPRs

    Under Article 246, several of the common properties are either put under the exclusive responsibility of individual states (under the 7th Schedule as state list) or that of the central government (as union list) or under both the central and state governments (concurrent list). Responsibilities of the common property attaches matters of governance and management together with the benefits of revenue entitlements. Being a custodian of people’s property creates a conflict situation to give benefits to the people and also to police them both in the short-term and long-term. The conflicts can be best resolved if you are closer to the property, i e, by the locals as monitoring has to be done on a day-to-day basis. In India, the necessary institutional arrangements promote collective action or in management lexicon, “participatory management”.

    With decentralisation being the vision behind the 73rd/74th Constitutional Amendment and people’s participation the objectives in the 9th and 10th Five-Year Plans, more and more authorities and responsibilities of the “commons” are being vested in the hands of the locals. Also the worldwide experience has shown that the beneficiaries of economic activities like to be included as partners in the process of development and implementation rather than being left out as mere recipients; not only does awareness and knowledge increase, but they also develop a sense of ownership and comradeship.

    The NSSO 54th Round Survey has collected data on presence of local management of CPWRs – (a) local self-government (like panchayats) or functionally effective local level system (cooperatives “pani” panchayats, “sinchai samitis”, farmers associations, etc), (b) government body, where the resource is directly under the control of public works department or minor irrigation department, and (c) no management at all.

    It is seen from Table 4 that 52 per cent of the households have water sources which are regularly managed and, therefore, looks after the households’ water needs. Such regular management of water resources is important as together with depletion of resources, there should be scope for rehabilitation and reinforcement giving consideration to both stock and flow of resources. A long-term strategy needs to be employed to make the benefits sustainable. Also the scope of benefits should be increased and widened to cover all the households.

    It has been noticed that where CPRs are regularly monitored and maintained, the villagers’ dependency on CPRs has been high. Otherwise people flock to some neighbouring village where the resources have been well maintained. This is, however, not always possible for water resources. The need of maintenance of these resources is, therefore, mandatory for the existence of

    Table 3: Value of Collections from CPRs Statewise

    State Average Average Estd No of Estd Value of Value of Household Households Collection Collections Size* (00) from CPRs from CPRs (Rs) (00) (Rs)*

    Andhra Pradesh 554 4.3 119332 66109928 Assam 1071 5.4 35114 37607094 Bihar 519 5.4 150258 77983902 Gujarat 663 4.8 54468 36112284 Haryana 1174 5.8 25388 29805512 Karnataka 635 5.0 69693 44255055 Kerala 390 4.6 45411 17710290 Madhya Pradesh 984 5.1 107483 105763272 Maharashtra 799 4.8 111247 88886353 Orissa 929 4.6 63451 58945979 Punjab 1057 5.2 27971 29565347 Rajasthan 266 5.4 62377 16592282 Tamil Nadu 667 4.0 96287 64223429 Uttar Pradesh 690 5.6 230000 158700000 West Bengal 450 5.0 110379 49670550 India 693 5.0 1348687 934640091

    * Data estimated by the 54th Round of NSSO Survey.

    Table 4: Percentage of Households by Management of Water Resources They Use

    Community Government Both Managed Managed Managed by None

    CPWRs 28 14 10 48

    Table 5: Use of CPRs and CPWRs by Categories of Households

    Category of Households Percentage Percentage Percentage

    Reporting Using Water Using Water Collection of for Iirrigation for Livestock Fodder Rearing

    Rural labour 13 14 24 With land possessed(ha)

  • (a) less than .20 8 8 12
  • (b) 0.2 to 0.5 17 46 34
  • (c) 0.5 to 1.00 18 43 42
  • (d) 1.00 and more 11 33 47 All 13 23 30
  • Economic and Political Weekly April 8, 2006

    the village. But as a whole, over time, the stock of CPRs have been decreasing. Before this reaches an alarming stage such weakening of biodiversity rich CPRs, both in quantity and quality needs to be checked.

    Observations and Recommendations

    In the above sections, the main issues relating to CPRs have been discussed. That this source is a useful resource supplement and should be tapped efficiently by the panchayats to yield revenues for the development is also clear. A summary of our observations and recommendations is as follows:

    (1) The survey results give an indication regarding the households most benefiting from the utilisation of CPRs and CPWRs (Table 5) and it is seen that the richer households, owning one ha of land or more, utilises these benefits to a greater extent.

    Levying a service/benefit tax on the users should yield appreciable revenue.

    Annexure

    Taxes, Duties, Tolls and Fees Related to use of Common Property Resources Assigned to Panchayats for Levy, Collection and Appropriation

    State Duties, Taxes, Tolls and Fees

    Andhra • Fees for temporary occupation of village sites, roads and other Pradesh public places.

  • Fees on public markets and village fisheries. Assam • Tax on sale of firewood and timber for thatching.
  • Tax on conservancies. Bihar • Fee for providing sanitary arrangements at places of pilgrims, haats and melas.
  • Gujarat • Lump sum contribution by factories in lieu of taxes levied on bazaars, cart stands and tonga stands, temporary erections, cleaning of cesspool.

    • Tax on grazing cattle on pasture lands.

    Haryana • Fee for the use of benefits received from public hospitals, dispensaries, schools, sarais, markets, rest houses and other public institutions.

    • Fees for supply, storage and preservation of water.

    • Fees for preservation and reclamation of soil and reclamation of swamps. Karnataka • Fee on market, registration of cattle for sale in market, for taxis and auto stands and grazing cattle on pasture grounds.

    Kerala • Fees for temporary occupation of village sites, roads and other public places.

    • Fees from beneficiaries of institutions run partly by the panchayats.

    Madhya • Fees for bullock cart stand and tonga stand, temporary structure. Pradesh or any projection over any public place or temporary occupations.

    • Fees for grazing cattle over pasture lands of gram sabha.

    Maha- • Fee on markets and weekly bazaars, car stands and tonga rashtra stands.

  • Fees for supply of water from wells and tanks.
  • Fees for temporary erection/projection/occupation of public streets and places.
  • • Fees for cleaning cess pools, for grazing cattle on pasture lands and registration for animals sold in a market. Orissa • Fees on private markets, cart stands and slaughter houses and

    movement of cattle. Punjab • Leasing fee for common property “shamlat” land.

    • Market fee.

    • Tax/fee on non-domestic property. Sikkim • Tax on fairs, melas, haats and other entertainments.

  • Fee for grazing cattle on pasture lands.
  • Fee for drainage, use of dharmsalas and camping grounds.
  • Fee for temporary erection/projection/occupation of village road
  • or place. Tripura • Licence fee for fairs or melas. Uttar Licence fee and tolls for markets.

    Pradesh West • Fee for grazing cattle in pasture land, burning ghat. Bengal • Registration fees for shallow tubewells, pumpsets.

    • Fee on haat/market and fairs.

    It was shown that “free” collection from CPRs alone is around Rs 9,346 crore and even if a fee/tax is charged at the rate of 10 per cent on the valuation, it would be down by only Rs 935 crore. The CRWRs would likewise have a potential of earning taxes/fees. Some of these common properties have been already handed over to the panchayats in some states and levies and fees just need to be collected regularly as panchayats’ non-tax revenues in “environmental cess” for maintaining the CPRs.

  • (2) A proper verification of the land records, in each state, would easily show that large proportion of lands, that should have been the legal assets of the panchayats, has been encroached upon and is being used illegally. The land, irrigation and forest records need to be updated and regularly verified by on the spot enquiries to ascertain the need for further litigations, etc. The management of this information is essential and a data base needs to be created. Special cells can monitor court cases for early decisions as each new case is a potential revenue-earner. When states like Punjab and Haryana can earn handsomely through leasing out these lands, panchayats in other states cannot afford to lose sight of this important revenue-supplementing asset.
  • (3) Alongside, centre and the states should take steps to hand over the rights of these common properties to the relevant panchayats and permit them to employ and enforce taxes and duties. Though the maximum limits of the rates can be stipulated, the panchayats should have the flexibility to alter the rates according to their needs and its justification.
  • (4) Building up human resources within the panchayats to oversee the decentralisation process and to implement the tax structures is a genuine need. It has often been questioned whether the panchayats have the necessary academic and administrative human infrastructure and whether the powers to the panchayats would be hijacked by other non-democratic mandates. The local people are experts in their own affairs, their environment and needs and a little guidance to the textbook procedure would bring them on par with their central or state counterparts.
  • (5) Special attention should be paid to the regeneration and revitalisation of common land and water resources, as with globalisation and modern needs, the dependence on them has increased manifold. Long-term policies need to be prepared on local area basis, by the panchayats for their sustainability in line with the working plans developed by the ministry of environment and forest for safeguarding forests. A legislation or order from the Supreme Court highlighting the need for environmental conservation and maintenance of biodiversity, may not be out of place.
  • m

    [The views expressed are personal, and in no way connected to the organisation to which he belongs.]

    Email: dhar_subroto@hotmail.com

    References

    Chopra, Kanchan et al (1990): Participatory Development; People and Common Property Resources, Sage Publications, New Delhi.

    GoI (1999): Report No 452 of National Sample Survey Organisation, M/o Statistics and PI Common Property Resources in India, 54th Round, January 1998 to June 1998, December.

    Kadekodi, Gopal K (2003): Common Property Resource Management: Reflections on Theory and the Indian Experience, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, December.

    SFC Reports of Different States (1st and 2nd Generation). Siva Subrahmanyam, K (2002): ‘Second Generation Amend to Panchayati Raj’, The Administration, Vol 45, December.

    Economic and Political Weekly April 8, 2006

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