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Participation at the crossroads: decentralisation and water politics in West Bengal

By: Chakrabarti, Bhaskar.
Publisher: New Delhi Orient Black Swan 2016Description: xviii, 130 p.ISBN: 9788125063087.Subject(s): Water supply - Government policy - West Bengal - India | Decentralization in government - West Bengal - India | Panchayat - India - West Bengal | Water supply - Government initiatives - West BengalDDC classification: 363.61095414 Summary: There is a trend the world over to make governments more accountable and responsive to local people through decentralisation of authority. Such an effort is aimed at overcoming inefficient allocation of natural resources by centrally administered agencies. The objective is to encourage participation of people in the decision-making process at the grassroots level. In India, the 73rd constitutional amendment of 1992 decentralised agriculture, irrigation and management of drinking water to the Panchayats. In West Bengal, the Panchayats were revitalised much before the constitutional amendment, soon after the Left Front government came to power. While the initial phase of Left Front rule saw enthusiastic participation by the village poor, when the water crisis reached a peak during the last years of Left Front rule, relatively few people in villages took part in government-sponsored initiatives. This leads to the core question: Why do more people not participate? Why are small cultivators and agricultural labourers, who are most profoundly affected by decisions regarding water management, even less inclined to be involved in decision-making? Participation at the Crossroads discusses decentralised governance and the politics of water management in India, with specific focus on West Bengal. Through fieldwork in villages during the last years of Left Front rule in the state, the author highlights the little studied aspect of local participation in decision-making processes relating to allocation of water. Through his case studies, the author shows how the unavailability of water is causing small cultivators to turn away from agriculture; the reasons behind the low turnout of small cultivators and agricultural labourers at village meetings; and how political interference at various levels in decentralisation creates problems, often leading to a skewed access to water. https://www.orientblackswan.com/BookDescription?isbn=978-81-250-6308-7&t=e
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Non-fiction 363.610 95414 C4P2 (Browse shelf) Available 197442

There is a trend the world over to make governments more accountable and responsive to local people through decentralisation of authority. Such an effort is aimed at overcoming inefficient allocation of natural resources by centrally administered agencies. The objective is to encourage participation of people in the decision-making process at the grassroots level. In India, the 73rd constitutional amendment of 1992 decentralised agriculture, irrigation and management of drinking water to the Panchayats. In West Bengal, the Panchayats were revitalised much before the constitutional amendment, soon after the Left Front government came to power.

While the initial phase of Left Front rule saw enthusiastic participation by the village poor, when the water crisis reached a peak during the last years of Left Front rule, relatively few people in villages took part in government-sponsored initiatives. This leads to the core question: Why do more people not participate? Why are small cultivators and agricultural labourers, who are most profoundly affected by decisions regarding water management, even less inclined to be involved in decision-making?

Participation at the Crossroads discusses decentralised governance and the politics of water management in India, with specific focus on West Bengal. Through fieldwork in villages during the last years of Left Front rule in the state, the author highlights the little studied aspect of local participation in decision-making processes relating to allocation of water. Through his case studies, the author shows how the unavailability of water is causing small cultivators to turn away from agriculture; the reasons behind the low turnout of small cultivators and agricultural labourers at village meetings; and how political interference at various levels in decentralisation creates problems, often leading to a skewed access to water.

https://www.orientblackswan.com/BookDescription?isbn=978-81-250-6308-7&t=e

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