This book by Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, highlights the emerging issues related to privatisation of water in the context of the recent surge of privatisation-related initiatives in the water sector in India.
The history of attempts at privatisation of water till recent times from all across the globe indicate that they have been met with strong resistance where ever they have been implemented. This is because of the total failure of all these programmes to address the social responsibility of providing water to all without consideration of profits.
However, this backlash against privatisation has led international donor agencies to use a different type of strategy and language. This has led to a shift from Private Sector Partnership (PSP) to Public Private Partnership (PPP) and more recently to the Water Sector Reforms (WSR) in countries such as India.
The book argues that this is in no way different from the earlier attempts at privatisation that ignored social responsibility, but a complete transformation of the sector into a market with purely commercial operation. In this too, social responsibility is eliminated as a conscious choice, since it cannot co-exist with purely market based operations.
Case studies from different states of India demonstrate how water, which is a basic human necessity, a basic human right, is in the process of becoming a product, a money and profit making commodity, free of all social responsibilities.
The book argues that although positive efforts that aim at equitable distribution of water to all do exist, they should be strengthened through community responsibility and participation and recognition of water as a basic human right, rather than as an entitlement.
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