Research Papers

  • Over the last few months, we saw protests by distressed farmers of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and other states over farming crisis and farmer suicides. In what seemed like a knee-jerk reaction, many state governments announced farm loan waivers without thinking if it would actually help the farmers...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 1 month agoread more
  • The landmark report titled A 21st century institutional architecture for India's water reforms submitted by the expert committee chaired by Dr Mihir Shah on restructuring the Central Water Comission (CWC) and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) to form a new National Water Commissio...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 2 months agoread more
  • The use of wastewater for irrigation in agricultural lands is a common practice across the globe. But a study by Indian researchers has found that it can also affect the quality of soil and groundwater, and consequently, human health.  The researchers studied soil and groundwater samples from ...
    arathiposted 2 years 3 months agoread more
  • It was in the late 90s that Raigarh emerged as the hub for power, coal mining and sponge iron in Chhattisgarh. The coalfield in Mand Raigarh is spread over an area of more than 1,12,000 hectares with an estimated 21,117 metric tonnes of coal.  Kosampalli, a small village in the Tamnar block in...
    makarandpurohitposted 2 years 5 months agoread more
  • Can forest conservation policies that ignore the livelihood needs of local, indigenous populations succeed in protecting biodiversity and wildlife? Experiences from the Sundarbans show that such policies not only result in the suffering of the local population, it also leads to the exploitation of ...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 5 months agoread more
  • Water pollution is a serious problem in India with 70 percent of its surface and groundwater resources contaminated by biological, toxic, organic, and inorganic pollutants. As a result, the socio-economic cost of poor water quality is high. Around 1.5 million children under five years die each year ...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 5 months agoread more
  • In the last few years, the water situation in Maharashtra has got worse resulting in severe droughts leading to drinking water scarcity and agricultural crisis. This has caused immense suffering for the rural folk in the state and saw instances of violence in the name of water. The government was fo...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 6 months agoread more
  • In November 2011, the government of Madhya Pradesh sanctioned Rs 493 crore to 37 Urban Local Bodies (ULB) for drinking water supply projects under the Chief Minister’s Urban Drinking Water Supply Scheme (CMUWSS) along the lines of the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium To...
    makarandpurohitposted 2 years 6 months agoread more
  • According to the data released by the Food and Agricultural Organisation’s AQUASTAT in 2010, at 250 billion m³ per year, India is one of the countries that uses groundwater the most. As high as 80 percent of its water is used for irrigation of which 65 percent is groundwater. This paper Bi-decad...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 6 months agoread more
  • In a tropical country like India, the summer months are hot which threaten the health of millions of people every year. For example, in 2013, more than 600 deaths were reported due to heat waves in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, where the temperatures soared to as high as 47.28 °C, while ...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 7 months agoread more
  • While nearly half of the world’s population (42 percent) lacks access to improved sanitation conditions, India is the worst performer in sanitation coverage, even below those countries with half of the households (53 percent) not having access to toilets. At 49.8 percent, India has the highest num...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 8 months agoread more
  • Mining and processing of heavy and rare earth minerals can produce a tremendously negative impact on the land and environment in the area, the magnitude and intensity of which depends on the kind of chemicals and processes used, the efforts taken in the management of waste as well as on environmenta...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 8 months agoread more
  • Although droughts are not new in India, we are seeing more of it of late. The paper Seeking viable solutions to water security in Bundelkhand published in the Economic and Political Weekly dated November 5, 2016 informs that people in South Asia have managed the vagaries of seasons for centuries thr...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 8 months agoread more
  • The coastal regions of India are becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate changes, developmental activities and urbanisation. Sustaining the livelihoods of fishing communities and preserving the health of coastal ecosystem and biodiversity are important challenges that India faces. This article...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 9 months agoread more
  • The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) basin is the third largest river flow system in the world with an annual runoff about 1,150 billion cubic meters (BCM) and the peak outflow of 1,41,000 cumecs. The basin has a total area of just over 1.7 million square kilometres, distributed between India (64 per...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 9 months agoread more
  • With recent reports of China blocking a tributary of the Brahmaputra in Tibet to construct its most expensive hydro project, the Assam government has been worried. Experts in the field believe that it is time India initiated hydro diplomacy with its neighbour.  Claiming their stakes This repo...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 10 months agoread more
  • A severe crisis is plaguing the rivers in India. A study by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2013 has found that the number of contaminated rivers in the country has more than doubled over the past five years. This is mainly due to the deposition of untreated sewage and industrial efflu...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 10 months agoread more
  • Meghalaya in the northeast of India is richly endowed with natural resources such as streams and rivers as well as mineral resources such as coal, limestone, clay, sillimanite, uranium, and more. The estimated coal reserve in Meghalaya is around 576.48 million tonnes while limestone reserves are aro...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 11 months agoread more
  • The article, The MGNREGA crisis: Insights from Jharkhand, published in the Economic and Political Weekly dated May 28, 2016, provides an overview of the status of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or MGNREGA in India. The article says, the Act, launched on February 2, 2006&n...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 11 months agoread more
  • River Cauvery has been in the epicentre of agitation and violence in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu--both fighting over their share of the Cauvery water. Thanks to the deficit monsoon this year, the Cauvery basin reservoirs in both these neighbouring states are only filled half as much as th...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 2 years 11 months agoread more

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This study from Bihar shows that official flood prediction systems are often inadequate to understand the true impact of the floods on the population. Local gendered knowledge can help fill this gap.

“There is a special type of black ant that is visible just before (and during) the onset of heavy rains. They start coming out of the ground in large numbers with their eggs in their mouths and only travel in a straight line, like a railway track,” informs Chandrika Mahato, a keen observer of nature, when asked how he predicts rains and floods.

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Better governance and equitable as well as sustainable use of water resources are essential to solving the deepening water crisis in Darjeeling.

"Darjeeling today has a thriving water business, with a fleet of 105 trucks plying three or four trips a day from April to June, carrying 5500 to 6500 litres of water on each run"

Source: Lama and Rai (2016)  'Chokho Pani: An Interface Between Regional And Environment In Darjeeling'. Himalaya, The Journal Of The Association For Nepal And Himalayan Studies, 36(2), 90-98

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Multilayered governance and involvement of forest dwellers in the decision making processes can go a long way in managing our forests better.

The recent news on the forced eviction of more than 1,000,000 tribal and other forest-dwelling households from 16 states by a Supreme Court order has again brought the long-debated issue of the role of the state and the community in forest governance to the forefront.

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As climate change and urbanisation threaten water security in the HKH region, there is an urgent need for good water governance.

The Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) cover 3500 kms across eight countries namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

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Three environment-friendly ways of disposing of human waste have proven effective in various districts of Chhattisgarh.

According to the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) website, access to toilets has improved in India and 28 out of 36 states and Union Territories are now open defecation free (ODF). While that’s good news, managing faecal sludge in ODF states in an eco-friendly way continues to be a big challenge. 

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Expanding tourism has led to increasing generation of garbage and plastic wastes in natural reserves in Uttarakhand. Wild animals feast on this garbage increasing their risk of plastic consumption.

Plastic or non-biodegradable waste can prove to be highly fatal for terrestrial or land-based ecosystems as well as marine ones. While the impacts of non-biodegradable waste or plastic waste on the marine ecosystems have been extensively researched, its impact on terrestrial ecosystems is still poorly known.

Garbage dumps are getting ubiquitous in India

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Though the statistics and numbers from the Swachh Bharat Mission indicate success, there are still gaps within the programme that need to be examined.

One of the most laudable initiatives of the current government’s regime is the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) that was launched on Oct 2, 2014, with a larger vision of a clean India. The critical aspect of the mission was that—unlike many of the movements that preceded it—this had a measurable outcome (making India open defecation free) and a firm timeline (by 2019).

"Prior to this, urban sanitation was a space largely neglected by policy makers."

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A study finds that only over a third of human-dominated catchments in India are resilient to climate warming.

The impact of global warming on the hydrological cycle should be of paramount concern to all because global warming affects rainfall patterns in various ways like triggering more extreme rainfall events. Unpredictable changes in runoff make it difficult to plan infrastructure to manage water resources such as dams.

How do human disturbances affect hydrological resilience of catchments in a warming climate?

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A study finds that plastic forms the largest component of marine litter that is polluting the beaches in the country.

The garbage crisis is not only invading Indian cities, but coasts as well, and the problem is assuming grave proportions. The incident in early June this year that saw nearly 120 tonnes of trash washed ashore on Juhu beach in Mumbai exposed the high levels of pollution that the Indian coasts are subjected to.

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A study finds drinking water in peri-urban areas around Bengaluru has high levels of bacteriological and chemical contaminants making it unfit for consumption.

India is running out of water fast. As if this is not bad news enough, it has been found that even the available water is highly polluted with organic and hazardous pollutants. Infact, a recent Water Aid report finds that India is among the top countries with the worst access to clean water close to homes.

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