This paper published on the International Environmental Law Research Centre (IELRC) site discusses the impetus and rationale for the initiation of the legal restructuring to the water sector in Andhra Pradesh and examines the trajectory in debates demanding reforms within the irrigation sector in India and compares it to the reality of the reforms carried out by the State.
Based on this, the paper argues that legal reforms to the irrigation sector are long overdue, but the suitability of the framework adopted by the Andhra Pradesh Government, premised as it is on the “Participatory Irrigation Management” model, needs critical evaluation.
Relying on various studies, the paper, in the third part demonstrates that the legal framework disregards the socio-economic and political context within which it is situated, and that “participation” through effective devolution of powers and functions, has not been prioritized.
In the fourth part, the paper examines the impact of these changes on the “rights discourse” and the jurisprudence informing the new legislations, while simultaneously revisiting the ‘rights’ debate within the irrigation sector. In the final part, analyses the reform process and provides a tentative hypothesis for effective reforms in the irrigation sector.
The paper is divided into the following sections:
- Impetus and rationale for legal reforms in Andhra Pradesh
- Trajectory of policies and debates pertaining to water sector reforms
- Legislative and institutional changes
- Water rights revisited
- Wither the trajectory of legal reforms
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