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

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Functionalist Perspective

The paper by Seema Kulkarni (“Women and Decentralised Water Governance: Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward”, EPW, 30 April 2011) compels us to critically think over the deadlock regarding solutions to the exclusion of the poor from natural resource governance. Although the author talks about the fundamental structural and institutional constraints in decentralisation of water governance, the article does not provide appropriate solutions.

The article mainly argues that unless the value systems, culture and the nature of institutions, including the family, change, decentralisation will fail to meet its desired objectives. This functionalist perspective emphasises that better institutions, better rules and better management through state intervention and civil society support can increase social inclusion. If we assume that hierarchical and discriminatory relations are embedded in social structure, it is hopeless to expect that policy change and even more democratised institutions, formed under donor-driven projects, will succeed in achieving meaningful inclusion of the poor.

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