Panchayati Raj Institutions

Featured Articles
October 24, 2019 An intern with Watershed Organisation Trust narrates his field experience from the villages of Madhya Pradesh, where farmers are using farm ponds to conserve water.
A farm pond constructed by Sheshrao Dhurve in Karaghat Kamti village of Madhya Pradesh
October 22, 2019 A forum discusses the need to stop illegal land transfers and land alienation of the poor.
The maldharis from kutch on their own road trip (Image: Malay Maniar, Flickr Commons, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
October 21, 2019 In this interview, Joy talks about his work as an activist working in rural Maharashtra, and how he came to work on water conflicts in India.
KJ Joy speaks at a felicitation for the late Professor Ramaswamy Iyer.
September 30, 2019 The recently concluded 4 day conference in Bangalore looked at the current state of global water resource challenges & future pathways to achieve the SDGs, while ensuring equity in access to all.
Charles Vorosmarty, Chair, COMPASS Initiative, Water Future at the opening plenary on advanced water system assessments to address water security challenges of the 21st century.
September 26, 2019 A workshop in Bangalore explored water ethics and how it can be applied to water management.
From left to right - Siddharth Krishnan (ATREE), David Groenfeldt (Water Culture Institute), Sara Ahmed (University of Cambridge), Veena Srinivasan (ATREE), KJ Joy (SOPPECOM)
September 25, 2019 Making false doomsday claims of a water crisis could support problematic mega solutions, which could lead to more problems.
India's demand for water will exceed supply by a factor of two by 2030, as per a NITI Aayog report (Image: Vinoth Chandar, Flickr Commons (CC BY 2.0))
Data, data everywhere, but where?
Involving the community in a data framework with the right incentives will have the second-order benefit of the community becoming decision makers with respect to water use. Amita Bhaduri posted 6 months 3 weeks ago

A few of us did an exercise where we closed our eyes and thought of the first four words that came to our minds when we thought of water data in India. Here is what we came up with:

The seamless flow of data from one program to another can be enabled if a few principles are kept in mind (Image: José Manuel Suárez, Wikimedia Commons)
Not in the interest of women farmers!
The new farm related bills will spell doom for women workers who form the bulk of small and marginal sections of Indian agriculture, warns Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch (MAKAAM). Aarti Kelkar Khambete posted 7 months ago

Three farm-related Bills were recently passed in the Parliament by the BJP led government at the Center, which have subsequently received presidential assent.

Farm women, overworked and underpaid (Image Source: India Water Portal)
A rainbow recovery post-COVID
The movement towards radical ecological democracy needs to combine the practical and policy-level grassroots work with broader mobilization. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months ago

There is a disquieting hush across the world as the linkage between the planet’s health and human well-being became pronounced during the times of the pandemic. The deepening socio-economic and ecological crises caused by patterns of production and consumption are being increasingly recognised.

The women of Deccan Development Society sanghams move towards more localized natural resource management (Image: Deccan Development Society, Facebook Page)
How forest-dwelling communities are braving the pandemic
Local communities and gram sabhas better understand the local complexities than the local administrations while dealing with a crisis situation. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months 1 week ago

The pandemic and lockdown measures have had a drastic impact on a large population of poor and marginalised communities, causing loss of livelihoods and employment, food insecurity and socio-economic distress. While vulnerabilities, atrocities and injustices faced by forest communities due to forest, conservation and economic policies have increased d

The non timber forest products collection season, which is mainly in the months of April to June coincided exactly with the lockdown (Image: CIFOR, Flickr Commons)
Poor implementation of forest rights act hurts tribals
Need to recognise the rights of forest-dwelling and tribal communities over their traditional lands. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months 1 week ago

In pre-colonial times, India’s forestlands were mostly under the use of the local communities. Forest policies led to centralisation in colonial times with forestland being subject to commercial over-exploitation for revenue generation purposes. This, in turn, led to land alienation of forest dwellers and an overall increase in deforestation.

Indigenous groups that lived and helped maintain the forests for centuries have been undermined (Image: Baiga women, Wikimedia Commons; CC BY-SA 3.0)
Governance lessons that could keep us prepared for pandemics
Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group speaks on rethinking aspects of our governance system in post-pandemic times. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months 2 weeks ago

Unabashed assaults by human beings on the natural ecological system have caused the coronavirus to spread in the first place.

Decentralised governance systems that allow to adapt and learn are best placed to deal with disasters (Image: Kantsmith, Pixabay)
Gendered impacts of COVID-19
The pandemic affects rural women disproportionately with damaging impacts on their employment, health and security. Amita Bhaduri posted 7 months 2 weeks ago

COVID-19 has unleashed one of the greatest human tragedies of the contemporary era demonstrating our fragility and has laid bare severe and systemic inequalities at all levels. It provides several lessons in the conduct of all aspects of human personality, professional, societal, and institutional lives globally.

The time-use survey indicates that women are now spending more time on unpaid domestic and care work (Image: Sunita, Pixabay)
Uttarakhand: Reaching the unreached
PSI addresses the shortage of safe drinking water in remote Uttarakhand villages through a participatory community-based approach to springshed management. Amita Bhaduri posted 8 months ago

People in remote hamlets left out by previous schemes like Swajal and Sector Wide Approach Program of the Uttarakhand Jal Nigam and Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan longed for household-level piped water supply for drinking and domestic purposes.

Women trudged long distances daily to fetch water for their basic household needs in Rupail (Image: People's Science Institute)
Decentralised governance key to handling Covid-19
There is a positive correlation between the panchayat raj system and effective handling of Covid-19, says Mani Shankar Aiyar. Amita Bhaduri posted 8 months 3 weeks ago

Panchayats have been the core of India's rural governance even before they received the constitutional mandate through the 73rd constitutional amendment in 1992, forming the basis of decentralization in the country. There are 2.5 lakh gram panchayats; over 6 lakhs villages; around 4500 urban local bodies and 4000 census towns in the country.

A first time Sarpanch of Lahora Gram Panchayat in Rajasthan’s Tonk District, stands committed, guiding the community with her political acumen. (Image: UN Women;CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Water projects get priority in MGNREGA amidst COVID-19
Efforts needed to better utilise MGNREGA funds to deter vested interests from misappropriating. Amita Bhaduri posted 8 months 3 weeks ago

Lockdown in April to May 2020 due to COVID-19 led to the mass migration of workers from the cities to villages. Despite strict measures by the government to stop any movement, people facing lost jobs and high cost of living in the cities began to walk back or use whatever transportation was available to travel to their home villages.

Work in progress at an MGNREGA site (Image: UN Women/Gaganjit Singh)