Combating drought in Maharashtra by dfgh4bnmu

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drought in

Dushkal Hatavu Manus Jagavu
(DHMJ Drought Forum)
Preface                                                           financial institutions. Then, with the enactment of the
                                                                  National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the
The seven-year (2001-2008) Poorest Areas Civil Society            Right to Information Act, the MC initiated a major shift
(PACS) Programme, supported by the UK Government’s                in programme processes so that CSOs and communities
Department for International Development (DFID), and              could be empowered to use these powerful legislations for
managed by a consortium of Development Alternatives               enhancing the income of poor households and securing
(DA) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has been the               entitlements.
largest civil society initiative against poverty in India till    In a similar way, the MC reacted proactively to the drought
date. Till September 2007, the programme had reached              situation across large parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha,
out to over 9 million poor rural households living in 94          where a number of PACS Programme projects were
poorest districts of the country in six states: Uttar Pradesh,    running. It was clear that the situation was so grim that
Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and                original project objectives could not be satisfactorily met.
Maharashtra. More than 80% of the population covered              Responding to the suggestions of CSOs and resource
is from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward           organisations, which were actually reporting the voice of
castes, and the remaining proportion from the general class       communities, the MC decided to reorient the programme
is also economically vulnerable. The programme reached            focus in Maharashtra so that short-term drought mitigation
out to this large section of India’s marginalised population      and long-term drought management became priority areas,
through over 600 civil society organisations (CSOs),              overriding all others. Making such a fundamental shift
conventionally called NGOs.                                       in a large, funded programme is difficult. However, with
Unlike most civil society initiatives, which focus on service     great persistence and conviction, the MC did succeed in
delivery or creation of assets, the PACS Programme was            paving the way for such a change. Programme CSOs in
by design a rights-based effort, with two broad objectives:       Marathwada and Vidarbha then responded to the needs
(i) building the capacity and confidence of poor people           of their communities vigorously, campaigning for supply
so that they could access a range of entitlements, such as        of water and fodder, and wage employment under the
benefits from government social welfare schemes, in a             Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS).
peaceful and democratic manner (ii) strengthening the             Laudable and successful as these efforts were, they did
capacity of the selected CSOs, so that they could address         not address the larger issue of drought-proofing these
the needs of the poor in a more sustainable and effective         vulnerable regions of the state. It was clear that despite the
way. By building CSO capacities, the programme sought             best intent and enormous spending, government efforts in
to ensure the long-term sustenance of processes it had            this direction were inadequate. A large civil society effort
initiated. This was required, as alleviating poverty in India’s   was required to mobilise communities and advocate for
most backward regions is a long and tortuous journey that         policy changes, so that the poor could be protected from
cannot be completed in a matter of a few years.                   the effects of recurrent drought, even if meteorological
Managing such a large programme, spread across diverse            drought itself could not be eliminated. To meet this
geographies, was a formidable challenge. The Management           need, the MC successfully initiated a broadbased civil
Consultants (MC), comprising DA and PwC, had to be                society forum, which extends to CSOs outside the PACS
sensitive to the varying strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds       Programme. The MC kickstarted and closely supported
and organisational cultures of project CSOs. At the same          and monitored the process of giving a formal shape to
time, it had to firmly put in place rigorous mechanisms for       such a forum, which by consensus came to be called the
financial accountability, monitoring and performance. The         Dushkal Hatavu Manus Jagavu (DHMJ) or Maharashtra
MC was acutely aware of the fact that most of the CSOs            Drought Forum.
associated with the programme were small organisations            The MC made sure that the DHMJ would be inclusive,
without sufficient expertise and experience in financial          democratic and not ‘owned’ by any particular organisation.
management, reporting and other important areas. One of           It encouraged a second rung of leadership to take up roles
the successes of the PACS Programme is that it has built          of responsibility. It also dialogued with funding agencies
the capacities of CSOs in these areas, and also oriented          that could support the forum after the closure of the PACS
them to working with a rights-based approach, with                Programme.
gender sensitivity and a focus on the most marginalised
sections of society.                                              This booklet is the story of that process, narrated against
                                                                  the background of the severe water and livelihoods
While putting in place elaborate mechanisms and                   crisis experienced in a large part of Maharashtra. The
processes for ensuring performance, the MC took it upon           booklet also discusses key issues that have emerged from
themselves to adopt a flexible approach, so that both             the activities of the DHMJ, and critical shortcomings
individual CSOs as well as the programme as a whole               in relevant state policies and legislations. I am sure all
could proactively address emerging needs, opportunities           those keenly concerned about drought and poverty
and challenges. Thus, responding to community needs, the          in Maharashtra will find the contents informative and
MC introduced a livelihoods component in the project.             illuminating.
Apart from providing a host of training opportunities for
both CSOs and communities in the area of alternative              Kiran Sharma
livelihood generation, the MC helped forge links with             PACS Programme Director

This publication has been produced by
InfoChange for the Poorest Areas Civil
Society (PACS) Programme supported
by the UK Government’s Department for
International Development (DFID).

The views expressed in this publication do
not necessarily reflect the views of DFID, UK,
or the Management Consultants of the PACS

Information provided in this publication is
valid till September 1, 2007.

Contents of this publication may be
reproduced with due acknowledgement of

Research and writing:
Ashok Gopal
Aparna Pallavi

Editorial advisor:
Dr Mukund Ghare

Sudharak Olwe
PACS Programme civil society organisations


1. Introduction                                                 7

2. A broadbased forum to combat drought                        15

3. Key issues                                                  31

4. Maharashtra’s water policy framework: A critical overview   43

5. DHMJ partners                                               56

Dry borewells, meant to provide drinking water, are a common sight across Maharashtra

. Introduction                                                      (Western Ghats) and Konkan receive heavy rainfall (around
                                                                     2,000 mm), most of this water, which accounts for nearly
                                                                     half the total water available in the state, flows into the
Although Maharashtra is one of India’s most developed
                                                                     Arabian Sea; only 5% of this water is usedi. To the east of
statesa, a large part of its population suffers from severe and
                                                                     the Sahyadris, the rainfall drops drastically to 600 or even
chronic scarcity of water. The problem is not generally
                                                                     500 mm; it then increases as one moves towards Vidarbha,
experienced or even realised in upper middle class enclaves
                                                                     where rainfall of around 1,400 mm is reported.
of cities like Mumbai and Pune. However, as you move
away from these privileged areas, women walking or
standing in queues to collect water is a familiar sight across       Due to this uneven rainfall pattern and geological
the state.                                                           conditions, the First Irrigation Commission of Maharashtra,
                                                                     constituted in 1962, estimated that only 30% of the
In nearly 70% of the state’s villages (around 27,600                 total cultivable area of the state could be brought under
villages), water is either not available within 500 metres           surface and groundwater irrigation. Until recent years,
or is not available within 15 metres below the ground,               successive governments have been lethargic in working
or is not potableb. Around a fourth of the state’s rural             towards realising even this potential. The percentage of
households do not have secure access to drinking waterc              gross irrigated area to gross cropped area in Maharashtra
and nearly half the rural households in the state do not             in 2002-03 was only 16.4, substantially lower than the
get safe drinking waterd. Household surveys for World                all-India ratio of 38.7. The percentage had been about the
Bank projects indicate that average time spent in collecting         same a decade earlierj.
water by rural households in Maharashtra is two hours a
day; using ‘opportunity cost’ principles that translate into         Poor surface irrigation
Rs 12 per household per daye. During summer, the time
and cost increases as sources dry up. Every year the state           The Maharashtra Water and Irrigation Commission
government spends around Rs 100 crore to supply water                constituted by the Government of Maharashtra (GoM)
on an emergency basis to severely water-starved villages.            in 1995 estimated that out of the state’s total cultivable
                                                                     land area of 22.54 million hectares, the area that could be
The water problem causes enormous daily hardship to                  brought under surface irrigation is 8.5 million hectaresk.
women and, coupled with poor sanitation facilities, leads            However, at an aggregate investment of Rs 269 trillion
to three kinds of health problems: ‘water wash’ ailments             since 1950 at current pricesl, area brought under surface
like conjunctivitis, caused by contact with poor quality             irrigation in Maharashtra is only 3.86 million hectaresm.
water; diseases like dengue caused by water stagnation;              Even this achievement is an exaggeration. Only 1.23
and waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, which is the                 million hectares, or around a third of the potential created,
leading cause of infant deaths. While India’s Millennium             is actually irrigated by canals; another 0.44 million hectares
Development Goal Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) target                  was irrigated by wells in command areas of irrigation
is 28 per 1,000 by the year 2015, in many districts of               projectsn.
Maharashtra such as Nashik, Jalna,Yavatmal, Buldhana,
Chandrapur and Gadchiroli, IMR is above 75 per 1,000f.               Among other reasons, a GoM report lists the following as
                                                                     causes for poor realisation of surface irrigation potentialo:
Shortage of water directly impacts livelihoods. Although             • “Taking more percentage of crops that require more
Maharashtra is among India’s most urbanised states, around           water like paddy and sugarcane.”
60% of its population still lives in rural areas. Even this figure   • Thin and scattered irrigation resulting in low efficiency.
is misleading, for urbanisation is heavily skewed towards            • Reduction in storage capacity due to silting.
the Mumbai region. In western Maharashtra and Vidarbha,              • Poor maintenance of infrastructure due to financial
around three-fourths of the population lives in rural areas,         constraints.
and in Marathwada, 85% of the population is ruralg.                  • Non-participation of beneficiaries.

Hence, agriculture remains the main source of livelihood             In recent years, investments in major and medium
in the state. While it accounts for around 55% of overall            irrigation structures (excluding market borrowing by
employment in the state, in rural areas 80% of the                   corporations like the Maharashtra Krishna Development
population is dependent on agriculture, either as cultivators        Corporation) account on average for about 28% of annual
(42%) or labourers (38%)h.                                           capital expenditure of the state governmentp. However,
                                                                     the investment does not and will not translate into a
There can be no agriculture without water and adequate               proportionate increase in area covered by surface irrigation.
access to this resource has been crippled by various factors         There are three main reasons for this.
in Maharashtra.
                                                                     Firstly, GoM’s record of executing irrigation works on
Limited irrigation potential                                         time is poor. Its financial position is poorq; the situation
                                                                     demands close monitoring of ongoing works rather than
Rainfall in Maharashtra is uneven. While the Sahyadris               heavy new investments. However, for political reasons,

Agriculture remains the main source of livelihood in the state

the emphasis is on inaugurating new projects, rather than    of Maharashtra. There is no village by that name near the
completing ongoing ones. As a result, funds are thinly       dam. The project enjoys the name because it was originally
spread and delays are inevitable. The 2001-02 Comptroller    supposed to be located at a village called Jaykuchiwadi in
and Auditor General of India (CAG) civil audit report for    Majalgaon taluka of Beed. The location to which it has
Maharashtra noted that as of March 31, 2002, there were      been shifted is remarkably unsuitable for a dam — the
117 incomplete irrigation projects in the state, in which    terrain is flat. As a result, the dam spans an extraordinary
around Rs 3,250 crore was blocked. Of these projects, six    distance of over 10 km; its height above the ground is just
had remained incomplete for five to 10 years; two projects   40 feet. The length of the Majalgaon right bank canal had
had remained incomplete for 15 to 20 years and two           to be reduced from the originally estimated 148 km to 84
projects had remained incomplete for more than 20 years!     km. Accordingly, the potential area to be brought under
The total amount blocked in projects delayed by over five    irrigation was reduced by half.
years was around Rs 140 crore. In the case of 15 projects,
involving around Rs 190 crore, details were not even made    Thirdly, irrigation projects are meeting rising demands of
available.                                                   water from the residential and industrial sectors. In most of
                                                             the major and medium irrigation projects, water reserved
CAG civil audit reports listed several bizarre states of     for domestic and industrial use varies from between
incompletion, such as dams without canals, canals without    15% and 25%. In years of poor rainfall, this goes up to
dams, and dams incomplete even after actual expenditure      50%r. In 2003-04, out of the total water made available
incurred was 10 times the estimated expenditure. The         from irrigation projects, 31% was used for non-irrigation
worst part was that in 14 major, 24 medium and 67 minor      purposes — to meet the drinking water demand in cities
irrigation projects, work had been abandoned after an        and the needs of industriess.
expenditure of around Rs 27 billion, simply because the
projects had become unviable due to cost escalation — the    Significantly, while agriculture is directly related to life
only people to gain from this criminal waste of public       and livelihood of the majority of the state’s population,
money were contractors.                                      allocation for water resources to agriculture is accorded
                                                             third priority in GoM’s Maharashtra State Water Policy
Secondly, irrigation projects are not often designed to      (2003), below allocation for industrial and commercial use.
extract maximum irrigation returns. Apart from sheer         This prioritisation calls into question the sense of using
incompetence at the planning stage, lobbying can play        the term ‘irrigation’ in connection with these projects. It
a big negative role. A classic example is the Jayakwadi      also reflects the government’s interest in strengthening the
project in Phaltan, which is often considered the pride      agriculture sector vis-a-vis the industrial sector.

Groundwater exploitation                                        number of IPS is estimated at 2.4 million; they account
                                                                for 25% to 30% of the state’s total power consumption and
As in the rest of the country, groundwater is the main          cost the exchequer Rs 1,600 crore in subsidiesab.
source of water for irrigation in Maharashtra. While surface
water from canals and tanks accounts for around 21%             Maharashtra was amongst the first states in the country to
and 14% respectively of the net irrigated area of the state,    introduce legislation to check groundwater exploitation,
groundwater primarily drawn from borewells using pumps,         but the law is violated with impunity and has done little
accounts for around 60% of the net irrigated areat.             good (see Section 4). Generally, cash crop-growing IPS
                                                                users suffer only one check: power cuts. IPS are not put
The Groundwater Survey and Development Agency                   off; whenever there is power, they are working, pumping
(GSDA) of GoM has identified 2,841 watershed units              out water for an average of seven to eight hours a day,
in the stateu (GSDA had earlier arrived at a figure of          irrespective of the crop’s actual water need.
1,505 watersheds. This figure, which continues to be
routinely quoted, was revised following new methodology         Unchecked by law and enjoying social sanction,
recommended by the Groundwater Estimation Committee             groundwater extraction has crossed the danger level in
constituted by the Government of India (GoI) in 1997.           many districts of the state and caused enormous hardship
The new method involves delineation of sub-units based          to the poor. Many drinking water wells, which are mostly
on irrigated and non-irrigated areas).                          90 to 150 feet deep, have dried up. Due to increasing
                                                                ‘competition’ for groundwater, the watertable has dropped
Of these 2,841 units, in 1997, 132 watershed units were
                                                                by over 300 feet in many villages, especially in sugarcane-
declared ‘overexploited’ — extraction exceeded recharge;
                                                                growing areas of Sangli, Satara, Nashik, Latur, Beed,
275 were in a ‘critical’ state and another 64 were in ‘semi-
                                                                Osmanabad and Solapur districtsac.
critical’ statev. These numbers probably do not reflect the
true picture. As banks are not allowed to advance loans for
                                                                Overextraction of groundwater has several grave
borewells in ‘overexploited’ watersheds, there are strong
political compulsions not to declare an area ‘overexploited’.
In any case, the GSDA estimate presents a macro-level
                                                                • The poor are hit first and hardest. While large farmers will
picture. The micro or village-level picture, emerging from
                                                                be able to dig new wells or deepen existing wells, small and
responses of people (see ‘Drought diaries: estimation of
                                                                marginal farmers suffer from poor quality water and falling
ground reality in 800 villages’ in the next section) shows
                                                                well yields.
rampant overexploitation of groundwater.
                                                                • Groundwater sources can become polluted by pesticides,
Groundwater extraction and lifting of surface water from
                                                                fertilisers and industrial waste. The toxins will damage
tanks is encouraged by subsidies for electricity used to run
irrigation pump sets (IPS). Obviously, these subsidies can      the health of people who use groundwater as drinking
be enjoyed only by relatively well-to-do farmers, who can       water and can also be taken up by crops, which will
afford to buy IPS and pipes in the first place. Of the total    contaminate food supplies. High concentrations of nitrate
number of farmers in the state, only 13% have IPS, and          in groundwater, a result of excessive use of chemical
the main beneficiaries of both groundwater resources as         fertilisers, are already reported in Sangli, Solapur, Satara,
well as electricity subsidies are 3% of the total number of     Nagpur,Yavatmal, Bhandara, Beed, Osmanabad, Thane and
farmers in the state who have IPS and grow cash crops like      Parbhani
sugarcane and bananaw. Medium and large farmers with
large holdings above two hectares buy several pumpsets          • Underground layers of rock or soil which transmit
and account for nearly 80% of the area under groundwater        water, known as aquifers, naturally discharge into rivers
irrigationx.                                                    and other waterbodies during dry periods, so sustaining
                                                                natural vegetation. Overextraction will empty aquifers
Groundwater extraction by this creamy layer of farmers          and dry up springs. In arid and semi-arid regions such as
has multiplied indiscriminately, with little or absolutely no   drought-prone areas of Maharashtra, these springs feed wild
concern for the drinking and agriculture water needs of         vegetation, serve as drinking water sources in extreme dry
other people living in the same village or the needs of the     periods, and are a stopping point for birds. Empty aquifers
state as a whole. The number of IPS in the state increased      will lead to a collapse of the ecosystem. The land will
by nearly 30% in less than a decade — from 1.6 million in       become a desert unable to sustain any significant amount
1990-91 to 2.2 million in 1998-99y. While consumption           of human, plant or animal life.
of electricity by all sectors in the state grew in the 1990s
by around 7% per annum, IPS consumption increased by            If overexploitation of groundwater resources continues
over 13% per annumz. The subsidised consumption cost the        unchecked, the future is clear:
Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) over
Rs 1,000 crore in 1993-94 — equivalent to the capital           • Groundwater-based agriculture will collapse.
cost of about half the power generation capacity addition       • Water quality will deteriorate.
required in that yearaa. According to latest GoM figures, the   • Many villages will be depopulated.

Frequent drought has severe long-term impact on people and livestock

Importantly, these impacts — which are already being felt        affected by ‘severe drought’ (see box)ag.
in varying degrees — will be the result of pandering to
the needs of a minority of farmers. A World Bank report          Severely drought-affected talukas in
presents an accurate picture of the state’s skewed irrigation    Maharashtra (2003-04)ah
                                                                   District       Talukas
“Over 75% of the irrigation (from sources including canals
                                                                   Solapur        Barshi, Karmala, Madha, Malshiras,
and electricity-operated bore- and tubewells) benefits                            Mangalvedha, Mohol, Pandharpur, Uttar
accrue to farmers with average farm holdings of more                              Solapur, Sangola, Dakshin Solapur, Akkalkot
than two hectares. On the other hand, less than 10% of the         Sangli         Jat, Kavatemahankal, Tasgaon, Miraj,
irrigation benefits accrue to farmers whose average farm                          Khanapur, Atpadi, Kadegaon
size is less than one hectare.”                                    Pune           Baramati, Daund, Indapur, Purandar, Shirur
                                                                   Satara         Maan, Khatav, Khandala, Phaltan, Koregaon
The spectre of drought                                             Ahmednagar Sangamner, Kopargaon, Shrirampur, Akola,
                                                                              Pathardi, Parner, Shrigonda, Ahmednagar,
Due to inherent geographical factors, aggravated by skewed                    Rahata, Jamkhed, Shevgaon, Rahuri, Nevasa,
irrigation policies, about 84% of the total cultivated area
                                                                   Nashik         Yevala, Sinner, Nandgaon, Chandvad, Devla,
in Maharashtra is directly and entirely dependent on the                          Malegaon
monsoons. The odds are heavily stacked against many of             Beed           Parli, Kaij, Ashti, Patoda, Beed, Shirur,
these farmers. Around a third of the state receives scanty                        Wadvani
and erratic rainfallaf and is hence drought-prone. Three           Osmanabad      Osmanabad, Tuljapur, Umarga,
GoM committees have, at different times, estimated the                            Lohara, Kalamb, Vashi, Bhum, Paranda
number of drought-prone talukas (tehsils) in the state and         Aurangabad     Vaijapur, Gangapur
arrived at different figures, using different criteria like        Latur          Latur, Renapur, Ausa, Nilanga
quantum of rainfall, soil moisture content and gap between         Jalna          Ambad, Ghansawangi
two consecutive rains.
                                                                 As ascertained and reported by GoM, the drought had the
Most recently, in July 2007, in the process of constituting a    following impactsai:
‘dushkal mahamandal’, or drought corporation, GoM listed
166 of the state’s 355 talukas as ‘drought-prone’, and hence     • In 6,742 villages, the paisewari (estimation of crop output)
eligible for whatever assistance the mahamandal might offer.     was less than 50% of the normal. Most of these villages
The list includes all 13 talukas of Ahmednagar, all 11 talukas   were in Ahmednagar, Solapur, Osmanabad and Beed.
of Solapur and 13 out of 14 talukas in Nashik. There are no      • Kharif crop was estimated to be 50% of normal yields.
talukas from Bhandara and Gondia in Vidarbha and Thane,          • There was an overall drop in the state’s per hectare
Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg from Konkan in the              productivity of all major crop categories. Thus, while
list. Much political heat was generated by the listing. GoM      foodgrain productivity was expected to be 1,058 kg per
had earlier proposed a list of only 90 talukas. After heated     hectare in 2002-03, it was actually 797 kg/ha (the drop in
discussions during the 2006-07 budget session of the state       sugarcane productivity was much lower in the same period,
assembly, the list was expanded. Ironically, the debate over     from an expected 81 kg/ha to 71 kg/ha).
the listing preceded the constitution of the mahamandal; till    • Households above the poverty line were also affected and
August 2007, there was no announcement about what the            even people from relatively affluent families were working
mahamandal would or wouldn’t do.                                 in Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) relief works. In
                                                                 November 2003, 3.50 lakh people chose to work under the
The political controversy overshadows a basic fact: a            EGS in the 11 affected districts. While GoM spends Rs 650
contiguous region, covering parts of western Maharashtra,        to 700 crore on the EGS in a ‘normal year’, it expected to
much of Marathwada, and parts of Vidarbha, and                   spend Rs 1,600 crore in 2003-04, till June 2004.
extending to southern Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and             • While the government deployed 238 tankers across the
northern Karnataka, is prone to drought. Every year some         state in November 2002 to supply drinking water, in
or the other part of this region is affected by severe water     November 2003 it deployed 1,616 tankers.
scarcity. GoM figures for scarcity-affected villages over a      • Till November 2003, the government had opened 400 cattle
20-year period (between 1960 and 1982) show that the             camps in drought-affected districts to feed 3.8 lakh animals.
number of villages affected in a year varies from around
600 to over 14,000, out of a total of around 40,000 villages.    GoM added that the measures it had taken did not “reveal
In the historic 1972-73 drought, the number of affected          the endemic vulnerability, which has been part of the
villages was nearly 30,000.                                      landscape”. The situation on the ground was “far too grim
                                                                 to be captured by the statistics”aj.
Further, severe drought is experienced over large parts of
the state every three to four years. Most recently, drought      The larger perspective
was experienced in 11 districts of the state from 2000
onwards; in 2003-04, 71 talukas were declared to be              Around 100 mm of rainfall a year falling on one hectare of

land, even in Barmer, Rajasthan, one of the driest regions        crops like banana and sugarcane. The community also
in India, can yield up to 1 million litres of water — enough      voluntarily enforced spacing out of wells used for
to meet the annual drinking and cooking water needs of            irrigation. Similar measures were adopted in several
182 people at 15 litres per day. It is difficult to capture all   other ‘model’ development programmes in drought-prone
the rainwater, but even if 50% were harvested, it would           areas of Maharashtra, such as Anna Hazare’s initiative in
mean half-a-million litres a yearak.                              Ralegan Siddhi.

The land required to harvest rainwater to meet the                The results seen in these ‘models’ are not seen in GoM
drinking water needs of an average Indian village varies          efforts, simply because the issue of community-led
from 0.10 hectares in Arunachal Pradesh (average                  water management has been sidetracked. At best, under
population: 236), where villages are small and rainfall high,     guidelines of lending institutions like the World Bank,
to 8.46 hectares in the Delhi region where villages are big       government functionaries seek to enforce community
(average population: 4,769) and rainfall low. In Rajasthan,       participation through a target-driven approach. But the
the land required varies from a mere 1.68 to 3.64 hectares        dynamics of community mobilisation in a semi-feudal,
in different meteorological regions; in Gujarat it varies         patriarchal society do not give space for such an approach
from 1.72 to 3.30 hectares. Every village in India can,           — community mobilisation may happen in months or may
therefore, meet its own drinking water needs if water-            take years, or may not happen at all. As discussed in Section
harvesting measures are taken up. Anything more that is           3 of this publication, the entire effort is often therefore
harvested can be used for irrigation and other purposesal.        subverted by bogus community partnership — contractors
                                                                  pay the required community contribution and get their
If this happens, then, coupled with well-known techniques         work done.
of soil conservation, agriculture productivity can multiply.
Consequently, living standards will improve, poverty will         The result is that despite enormous monetary and human
come down and migration to cities for work will reduce.           resources and investments made by GoM over the years in
                                                                  water and soil conservation and watershed development
However, these results will not automatically flow from           projects across the state, “the basic problem” of drinking
a purely engineering-driven approach. The human issue             water, as admitted by GoM’s Economic Survey 2003-
of water management is crucial. In the much-quoted                04, “instead of reducing is aggravating year by year” and
‘model’ adopted in Hiwre Bazar village in drought-prone           water scarcity has become “a common feature affecting
Ahmednagar, the lives of small and marginal farmers               agriculture adversely”.
improved dramatically because the community, led by a
charismatic sarpanch, decided to control overexploitation         As discussed in Section 3 of this publication, there are
of groundwater by banning cultivation of water-intensive          several other reasons also for GoM’s failure to resolve the

  Maharashtra outside the big cities
  Overall development indicators of Maharashtra are misleading because of relatively high attainments
  on most indicators in cities like Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Kolhapur. Outside these big cities,
  Maharashtra scores unsatisfactorily on several fronts, as revealed by these observations in GoM’s Human
  Development Report, Maharashtra 2002:
  • Among all major states of India, Maharashtra has the lowest average yields per hectare and lowest
  total foodgrain production.
  • A major part of Maharashtra is poor. Though statistical estimates for the state as a whole show a
  decline in poverty over time, these are not corroborated by estimates of real consumption. Measured
  by quantity of cereal consumption and calorie intake, “the population does not show any marked
  improvement”. Total monthly per capita cereal consumption of the rural population as a whole
  declined from about 13.5 kg during the mid-1970s to less than 11.5 kg during the 1990s. Average
  calorie intake in rural Maharashtra decreased from 2,280 in 1960–61 to 2,144 in 1983 and further down
  to 1,939 in 1993–94.
  • Over half the married women in rural Maharashtra between 15 and 49 years suffer from anaemia.
  • The average agricultural growth rate during 1960–2000 was 2.92% per annum, which barely exceeded
  the population growth rate of 2.24%.
  • Eight districts, including five in Marathwada (Jalna, Osmanabad, Nanded, Latur, and Parbhani),
  account for just 11% of the total income generated in the state.
  • Data on height-for-age indicators reflects a high incidence (30%) of severe stunting among children
  in most districts of Marathwada.
  • Child marriages are very common in some districts of Marathwada. The proportion of such
  marriages to total marriages is over 50% in Nanded, Beed, Latur, Jalna, and Aurangabad.

chronic water problem affecting a large part of the state;                Statements,Volume III, 1999
Section 4 also touches upon the inadequacy of or lacunae                  j GoM, Economic Survey 2003-04
in policy response. What needs to be stressed here is that a              k GoM, Water Resources Department, Report on Benchmarking of Irrigation
direct result of the failure of GoM’s programmes is failure               Projects in Maharashtra 2003-04, 2005 (henceforth WRD-Benchmarking)
to redress gross imbalances in its development.                           l WB-AGM
                                                                          m WRD-Benchmarking
Scarcity of water and its mismanagement is the main cause                 n ibid
of low economic growth and persistent poverty in most                     o ibid
rural areas of the state, with several crippling manifestations           p WB-AGM
(see box). This poverty cannot be addressed — or                          q The 2001-02 Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) civil
concealed — by investments on expressways and software                    audit report for Maharashtra noted that between 1997-98 and 2001-
parks, or glitzy industrial and commercial growth in and                  02, the state’s overall fiscal liabilities increased from Rs 35,103 crore to
around a few cities of the state.                                         Rs 74,209 crore at an average annual rate of 20.31%. In 2001-02 these
                                                                          liabilities stood at 2.47 times GoM’s revenue receipts and 2.86 times
Civil society response                                                    its own resources comprising tax and non-tax revenue. The 2001-02
                                                                          CAG report also drew attention to loans availed of by various GoM
It was in response to this grim situation, which has not                  corporations and guaranteed by the government; in 2001-02, these
yet been addressed by a long-term drought mitigation                      liabilities stood at nearly Rs 34,000 crore. Government investment
policy, that a network of civil society organisations working             of around Rs 11,000 crore in corporations, rural banks, joint stock
in Maharashtra formed a drought forum, as narrated in                     companies and cooperatives were giving a return of less than 1%
the next section. While the forum’s immediate priorities                  r WRD-Benchmarking
were ascertaining the multi-faced impacts of drought, and                 s ibid
mobilising government relief, it also has the long-term                   t Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), Agriculture, 2002,
vision of eradicating drought. This is not an impossible                  quoted in WB-AGM
dream. While what is known as meteorological drought                      u GoM, GSDA, 6th Groundwater Assessment, 1997
characterised by low rainfall is an unalterable reality, there            v ibid
is great scope for minimising the impact of meteorological                w World Bank, Maharashtra: Reorienting Government to Facilitate Growth and
drought.                                                                  Reduce Poverty, Vol I, 2002 (henceforth WB-MGP)
                                                                          x NSS 54th Round Survey, quoted in WB-AGM
Further, if rural poverty in Maharashtra is to be addressed,              y Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), Agriculture, 2002,
equitable and rational use of water and appropriate                       quoted in WB-AGM
agriculture practices have to become the main item on the                 z Shantanu Dixit, Girish Sant, ‘How Reliable are Agricultural Power Use
agenda of state policy.                                                   Data?’, Economic and Political Weekly, April 12-18, 1997
                                                                          aa ibid
As argued in Section 3 of this publication, the policy will               ab Chief minister’s presentation, Agriculture in Maharashtra, viewed in
have to include several innovative and bold measures,           
which can be implemented only with true people’s                          htm, henceforth CM-Agri.ppt
involvement. Civil society organisations (CSOs) and                       ac Naresh Tankhiwale, Maharashtra Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project
networks like the Dushkal Hatavu Manus Jagavu (DHMJ)                      II Environmental Analysis Study for World Bank, 2003
drought forum can provide the necessary bridge between                    ad ibid
people and the government.                                                ae WB-MGP
                                                                          af GoM, Economic Survey 2003-04
                                                                          ag GoM, Revenue and Forests Department, Revised Memorandum
                                                                          to the Government of India on Drought Relief and Mitigation in
a According to a ‘message’ by Union Planning Commission member            Maharashtra (2003-04)
Kamaluddin Ahmed in the Human Development Report Maharashtra 2002         ah ibid
(GoM), henceforth HDR-M, the state’s per capita income is 40% higher      ai ibid
than the all-India average                                                aj ibid
b As per GoM guidelines, quoted in the World Bank’s Promoting             ak Anil Agarwal, Drought? Try capturing the rain, Centre for Science and
Agricultural Growth in Maharashtra Volume 1, Rural Development Unit,      Environment. New Delhi, 2001
South Asia Region, World Bank, 2003 (henceforth WB-AGM)                   al ibid
c According to NSSO 1999, 25.1% of rural households in Maharashtra
reported “insufficiency of drinking water”
d Quoting various 1991 sources, HDR-M reported that only 54% of
rural households had safe drinking water facilities
e World Bank, India: Water Supply and Sanitation, 2006
f Table 38 in HDR-M
g HDR-M, p. 21
h GoM, Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2000-01
i GoM, Maharashtra Water and Irrigation Commission (MWIC), Appendices &

. A broadbased forum to combat drought

The DHMJ is a broadbased civil society forum with high participation of women

The Dushkal Hatavu Manus Jagavu (Eradicate Drought,           and PricewaterhouseCoopers (P) Ltd.
Raise People’s Awareness) (DHMJ) drought forum has
emerged as a broadbased civil society forum. Though           The programme aims at empowering the poor in the most
initiated under the Poorest Area Civil Society (PACS)         backward districts of India to realise their entitlements
Programme in Maharashtra, DHMJ now includes                   more effectively and in a sustainable manner. For this
many NGOs not associated with the programme. It has           purpose, it relies on carefully selected civil society
significant presence through district forums in 11 drought-   organisations (CSOs) that work on projects aimed at
prone districts of the state: Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani,    promoting self-governance, women’s empowerment, policy
Beed, Latur, Hingoli, Osmanabad, Nanded in Marathwada,        advocacy, social cohesion and self-help to meet basic needs.
and Yavatmal, Gadchiroli and Buldhana in Vidarbha.            The PACS Programme also seeks to build effective civil
                                                              society partnerships, to sustain its achievements.
All district-level activities are reported to a central
                                                              The programme covers a geographically contiguous area of
secretariat, and overall strategy formation is done by a
                                                              six states: Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh,
strategic committee, through consensus and involvement
                                                              Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. In all, it covers 465 blocks
of all lead district NGOs. DHMJ is guided by an advisory
                                                              of 93 districts, through a network of 665 CSOs working in
committee that includes renowned water-related experts
                                                              nearly 20,000 villages.
such as Dr Mukund Ghare.
                                                              In Maharashtra, the programme covers 11 districts of
This section outlines the genesis of the forum, its current
                                                              Marathwada and Vidarbha. Thirty projects are operational
status, and emerging concerns.
                                                              in the state. Of these, 17 are run by individual CSOs, and
Outcome of PACS Programme processes                           the rest are run by large CSOs working with a network
                                                              of smaller NGOs. The overall programme network in the
DHMJ is an outcome of PACS Programme processes in             state covers 1,868 villages in 75 blocks. In addition, the
Maharashtra.                                                  programme covers 60 slums in four municipal corporations.

A seven-year (2001-2008) poverty alleviation effort           Around 230,000 households with a total population
focused on many of India’s most backward districts, the       of around 11 lakhs are directly covered by the PACS
PACS Programme is funded by the UK Government’s               Programme in Maharashtra. Nearly 6,000 community-
Department for International Development (DFID) and           based organisations (CBOs) with a total membership of
managed by a consortium of Development Alternatives           nearly 80,000 people have been formed. These include

groups of farmers, village youth, adolescents, dalits and       The assessments revealed that:
tribals, and committees for village development, joint forest
management, Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), as well           • Many people were going hungry, and few families had
as children’s panchayats and ‘shikshan premi’ committees of     adequate food stocks.
local people monitoring the performance of village schools.     • Availability of drinking water was very poor. Distribution
                                                                by tankers was neither enough nor equitable. The water
The majority of these CBOs are women’s self-help groups,        needs of cattle were not being sufficiently met.
which have a total membership of over 43,000. Till March        • Women and children were the worst affected.
2006, the cumulative savings of the SHGs was in excess          • There had been suicide cases in the Marathwada region,
of Rs 3 crore. Over a thousand SHGs had been linked to          and a number of cases of malnutrition and starvation.
banks, and over 4,500 individual and collective livelihood      • Migration in search of employment had increased.
activities had been started by SHG members.                     • The Public Distribution System (PDS) had not provided
                                                                any succour.
Apart from working for realisation of entitlements,             • Drought was pushing the poor further into a debt trap. It
programme partner CSOs in Maharashtra are involved              was becoming increasingly difficult for the poor to get credit.
in major issues such as land rights, promotion of
livelihoods, use of the Right to Information (RTI), and         The survey findings were discussed at three regional
implementation of the National Rural Employment                 workshops in early September 2004, and then with the
Guarantee Act. In 2007, the scope of the programme              programme’s state and national managers at the state-level
was expanded by the introduction of a fast-track literacy       peer learning workshop later in the month. The consensus
programme for women.                                            was that CSOs should chalk out a roadmap to eradicate
                                                                drought in Maharashtra within the next 10 years. The
The DHMJ was formed as a response to conditions in
                                                                PACS Programme facilitated the formation of an informal
PACS Programme districts in Marathwada and parts of
                                                                steering committee comprising representatives of 20
Vidarbha that were reeling under severe drought for the
                                                                CSOs associated with the programme. The slogan ‘Dushkal
fourth year in succession in 2003-04. Programme CSOs
                                                                Hatavu, Manus Jagavu’ (‘Eradicate Drought, Raise People’s
working in the districts reported that their initial project
                                                                Awareness’) was coined and became the rallying point of a
design, covering issues such as panchayati raj and women’s
                                                                broadbased civil society initiative that eventually took the
empowerment, had been rendered irrelevant by acute
                                                                formal shape of a forum.
scarcity of water and the resultant impacts.

People in programme villages were demanding water,              Drought warriors
employment and livelihood options to tide over the
crisis. Families were migrating on a large scale. Group
marriages and early marriages were being held to “get rid
of daughters”. Domestic violence and inter-village conflicts
were on the rise.

The ground realities called for a radical change in the
objectives and activities of programme CSOs. The issue,
first raised by programme CSOs in Marathwada, was
discussed at a state-level peer learning workshop for
programme partners held in Aurangabad in March 2004.
With suuport from the PACS Programme management,
CSOs, especially from Marathwada, resolved to work
collectively on the issue of drought. It was decided to
organise rallies, padyatras and dharnas in drought-affected
areas, to raise awareness and mobilise the government
machinery to provide fodder, water through tankers, and
work under the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS).               Village-level leaders were trained to work as drought
Sampark, the Mumbai-based advocacy organisation
supported by the PACS Programme, arranged tours of              In order to put the Dushkal Hatavu, Manus Jagavu resolve
journalists to the worst-affected districts of Maharashtra,     into action, the drought forum steering committee felt it
and lobbied with policymakers and people’s representatives.     was necessary to build up a cadre of ‘drought warriors’.
Sampark also produced a publication, Teesri Fasal,              These drought warriors were meant to be village-level
highlighting the problem. Green Earth, then a PACS              CSO workers, public-spirited citizens and young leaders
Programme resource organisation, conducted a rapid              with a shared vision and purpose, and equipped with
drought assessment survey in 39 villages of nine districts.     knowledge of all government resolutions and schemes
PACS Programme partners also assessed the drought               related to drought and drought relief, and issues relevant
situation in 300 villages in their programme project areas.     to drought. Working with commitment and discipline, the

drought warriors were expected to:                              experiences and insights.

• Assess, monitor and document the drought situation            Subsequently, a ‘drought warrior camp’ was held in
in their villages, with respect to the availability of water    April 2005 at the Mhalumbra, Latur, premises of PACS
for drinking and irrigation, and the fodder situation, in a     Programme CSO, Sahayog Nirmitee, for all trained drought
common format.                                                  warriors, master trainers, heads of PACS Programme CSOs,
• Understand government policies, and interface with            and heads of NGOs not involved with the programme but
government officials.                                           working in the programme districts.The camp primarily
• Undertake and push for relief and mitigation measures.        aimed at being a sharing session on training notes, the
                                                                experiences of drought warriors, and expert insights.
Working with the people, these drought warriors were            Significantly, the camp was organised without any funding
expected to raise awareness and mobilise people into action     agency support. Participants and the organising NGO,
on issues such as:                                              Sahayog Nirmitee, bore the expenses from their own funds.
                                                                At the end of the camp, the participants solemnly took an
• Improper implementation of the state’s Employment             oath to work single-mindedly to combat drought under
Guarantee Scheme (EGS), which provides survival income          the slogan ‘Dushkal Hatavu, Manus Jagavu’.
during drought.
• Abuse of groundwater resources.                               Drought padyatra
• Improper functioning of the Public Distribution System
• Excessive and illegal tree-felling.
• Deterioration of state-built public water resources such as
percolation tanks and handpumps.

To build such a cadre, a series of training programmes
were planned. After several rounds of deliberations, help
from subject experts, and a pilot training exercise, the
DHMJ drought forum drew up a detailed five-day training
programme format. Initially five, and subsequently a total
of 25 field workers nominated by PACS Programme CSOs,
were trained at the Kerwadi campus of PACS Programme
CSO Socio Economic Development Trust (SEDT) in
Parbhani, to conduct training programmes with selected
material, instruction techniques and evaluation methods.
The 25 master trainers were identified and trained under a
five-day programme that equipped them to:                       The slogan ‘Dushkal Hatavu, Manus Jagavu’ became the
                                                                platform for a forum
• Get a perspective on drought.
• Understand how government looks at and deals with             The DHMJ drought forum (which had yet to acquire
drought.                                                        any formal shape) then planned a long padyatra across
• Understand issues related to water use.                       Marathwada and parts of Vidarbha to:
• Understand all the rules, conditions and requirements
related to the EGS.                                             • Get first-hand information and insight into the causes
• Understand the dynamics and techniques of community           and manifestations of drought, as well as reasons for the
mobilisation.                                                   failure of government machinery to evolve a permanent
                                                                solution to drought situations.
Subsequently, with some funding support from Christian          • Raise awareness about water, governance, community
Aid, the first drought cadre was created through seven          mobilisation and other issues in the villages covered, and
training programmes, in January-March 2005. Trainees self-      trigger people’s initiatives.
evaluated and graded themselves; only those who achieved        • Explore long-term and sustainable solutions.
a score of above 60% were selected to be drought warriors.      • Involve urban civil society in the process.
This way, 229 drought warriors were identified and trained.     • Draw the attention of media and government to the
Each was given a detailed field observation format, or          issues of the poor.
‘drought diary’, to assess and report the situation in the
village, around 10 issues.                                      The padyatra was planned as an entirely voluntary effort.
                                                                The idea was to rope in PACS Programme CSOs, other
An effort to create a larger network was made at the            NGOs as well as youth and community-based organisations
peer review workshop held in March 2005, when                   to organise different stages of the padyatra; food and
leading experts and civil society drought activists from        lodging arrangements would be made in the villages by
outside the programme were invited to share their               these organisations with the involvement of local people.

     Organisations involved in drought padyatra                    The padyatra was finally flagged off from Kasari village
                                                                   of Ashti taluka, Beed, on January 1, 2006, by the ‘water
                                                                   man of Rajasthan’, Magsaysay award-winner Rajendra
                                                                   Singh. Over the next two months, the padyatra covered
     Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Gramin Vikas Prakalp, Gramin
     Vikas Kendra, Comprehensive Rural Health Programme,
                                                                   160 villages in nine districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha,
     Indira Gram Sudhar Sanstha, Gramin Vikas Mandal,              culminating at Mahatma Gandhi’s Sewagram Ashram
     Savitribai Phule Mahila Mandal, Rural Development             (Wardha) on March 2, 2006. Overall, around 10,000 people
     Centre, Yuvagram, Sevadas Gram Vikas Sanstha, Jan Vikas
     Samajik Sanstha, Campaign for Human Rights
                                                                   participated; on any given day there were at least 150
                                                                   people walking in the padyatra. That apart, some 50 experts
                                                                   from various fields, and students took part in detailed
     Lokseva Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Sahayog Nirmitee, Jai
     Bhavani Shikshan Sanstha, Samajik Sahayog Sanstha,
                                                                   assessments in 60 villages.
     Rashtriya Sevagram Pratishtan, Gramin Punarrachana
     Kendra, Kalapandhari Magasvargiya and Adivasi Gramin          Apart from Rajendra Singh, the organisers also sought and
     Vikas Sanstha, Navnirman Pratishtan, Jeevanjyot Gram          received participation from several well-known names in the
     Vikas Sanstha, Samajik Vikas and Sanshodhan Sanstha,
     Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Sevabhavi Sanstha
                                                                   fields of water conservation and social activism, including
                                                                   Dr Rajanikant Arole, N D Sonawane, Thakurdasji Bang,
                                                                   Dr Mukund Ghare, Prof Sharad Kulkarni, Prof Kailash C
     Lokhit Samajik Vikas Sanstha, Paryay, Halo Medical
     Foundation, Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vyasanmukti
                                                                   Malhotra,Vidya Bal, Prof Karandikar, Mohan Hirabai Hiralal,
     Kendra, Gramin Sthanik Pratishtan, Sarvangin Vikas            Vilas Chaphekar, Dinkar Gangal, Atul Deolgaokar, Devaji
     Sanstha, People’s Institute for Rural Development,            Tohfa,Vijaya Chauhan, Dr Abhay Bang, Dr Neelam Gorhe,
     Lokjagar Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Gramin Janata Shikshan
     Prasarak Mandal, Ganpatrao Nimbalkar Smruti Mukti
                                                                   and Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari.
                                                                   Alongside the padyatra, Sampark, the PACS Programme’s
                                                                   Maharashtra-based communications agency, organised a
     Matrubhumi Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Socio Economic
     Development Trust, Vedant Manav Vikas Sanstha,
                                                                   media and advocacy effort. The attempt was to highlight
     Janjeevan Manav Vikas Sanstha                                 the issues of the poor, expressed during the padyatra, in
     Nanded:                                                       the media through news reports and features, regular press
     Friends of Environment and Nature Conservation, Neel
                                                                   conferences and regional media-orientation programmes.
     Ganga Shikshan Sanstha, Shahir Ramesh Giri and troupe,        Ten press conferences and four media tours were organised.
     Sandhiniketan Shikshan Sanstha, Adarsh Shikshan Prasarak      Local politicians whose constituencies lay within the
     Mandal, Vikas Sahayog Pratishtan, Parivar Pratishtan
                                                                   padyatra’s route were also informed about the padyatra; in
     Hingoli:                                                      all, 54 MLAs/MLCs were contacted.
     Shantidut Pratishtan, Ugam Gram Vikas Sanstha
     Yavatmal:                                                     The drought padyatra generated enormous public response.
     Srujan, Dilasa, Gramin Samasya Mukti Trust, Asmita            In the first 15 days of the padyatra itself, discussions were
     Institute for Social Development, Rashtriya Vichar Manch,     held with around 5,000 drought-affected people. Through
     Jhansichi Rani Bahuudesshiya Gramin Vikas Sanstha             these interactions, several instances of gross mismanagement
     Multi-district:                                               and injustice were uncovered. On the positive side, the
     Save the Children India, Marathwada; AFARM, Bachpan           interactions inspired some communities to take action on
     Bachao Andolan, Federation of Organic Farmers,                their own. The padyatra also garnered tremendous media
     Marathwada; National Institute for Women, Child and
     Youth Development, Nagpur                                     interest. Over 300 news stories and around 15 feature
                                                                   articles related to the padyatra appeared in local, regional
                                                                   and state-level newspapers.
     Satav College, Hingoli; Savitri Jyotirrao College of Social
     Work, Yavatmal; Maitri, Pune; ActionAid; HelpAge;
     Christian Aid; IntermonOxfam; Maggie Black; GTZ;
                                                                   For the padyatris themselves, the event was a major
     Sampark, Mumbai; National Centre for Advocacy Studies,        learning experience. The key ‘findings’ could be
     Pune; Yerala Project Society, Sangli; Arya Durga Abhyaas      summarised as follows:
     Parivar, Ratnagiri; Pragati Consultants; Human Resource
     Development Centre; Constructive Catalyst; Women’s
     Collective, Tamil Nadu; Gram Vikas, Orissa; Rambhau           • There was endemic suffering in all drought-affected
     Mhalagi Trust, Maharashtra; Samarthan, Mumbai; Dnyan          villages. Hunger was visible in every village visited, in little
     Prabhodhini, Pune; Green Earth Social Development
     Consulting Pvt Ltd, Pune; Development Alternatives and        children with stunted growth and widespread malnutrition.
     PricewaterhouseCoopers, New Delhi — Management                • Women and even small girls were compelled into day-
     Consultants of the Poorest Areas Civil Society Programme      long drudgery — fetching water, doing household chores
                                                                   and feeding the family. Their contribution received no
                                                                   recognition. On the contrary, women were given lower
The padyatris would bear their own expenses —                      wages, denied decision-making powers and subjected to
they received no funding support. Around 60                        harsh treatment in a highly patriarchal society.
organisations were roped in and coordinated by Green               • Agriculture had become a fragile means of livelihood due
Earth, in consultation with PACS Programme managers;               to reduced landholdings (the result of growing family size),
around 100 people were involved in various capacities in           excessive dependence on the monsoons, high input costs
the planning of the padyatra over eight months of 2005.            (chemical fertilisers, hybrid seeds), producers’ total lack of

The drought padyatra covered 160 villages of nine districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha

control over the market, and an almost total collapse of the    learning workshop held in Pune in September 2006. The
rural cooperative credit system.                                entire process of giving a formal shape to the DHMJ
• There was rampant mismanagement and corruption                was closely supported and monitored by the PACS
in cooperative institutions like sugar factories and dairy      Programme’s manager for Maharashtra, Poonam Mehta,
cooperatives which could have served as the base for a strong   and programme director Kiran Sharma.Valuable inputs
agro-based economy.                                             were provided by Dr Neelam Gorhe.
• There was a ‘drought of information’ about government
schemes like the EGS, which made people easy prey to fraud.     DHMJ’s vision was crystalised as:
• There was no sense of responsibility or ownership
about public investments such as water conservation             • An empowered and vibrant civil society.
structures built at huge expense. While the EGS and other       • Adequate availability of water for household purposes, in
government contractors worked without any commitment            the house.
to quality, the resultant wastage, delays and maintenance       • Gainful utilisation of annual precipitation and available
problems were viewed by people as the ‘government’s             water resources for agricultural purposes.
problem’.                                                       • Availability of ample and nutritious food to all citizens.
• There was gross inequity. In general, the quality of public   • Diverse and dignified livelihood options for all adults.
facilities like schools and medical centres was terribly        • Abundant availability of fodder at the village level.
low compared to similar facilities in urban areas. Within       • Teams of youth to ensure good governance at the
rural communities, dalits and tribals were openly or subtly     community level.
denied access to water and education.
                                                                DHMJ’s mission was to “initiate individual, organisational
The ‘findings’ of the drought padyatra and experiences          and collective practices necessary for the forum to continue
of the padyatris were shared and discussed at a PACS            to work towards achievement of its vision”. The short-term
Programme state-level peer learning workshop in Pune in         objectives of the DHMJ were identified as:
March 2006.
                                                                • Building a strong forum through the process of inclusion.
A formal character                                              • Conducting orientation training for the existing 200-odd
                                                                drought warriors.
The PACS Programme then decided to enable and support           • Building the capacity of 200 new drought warriors.
the process of giving the DHMJ drought forum a formal           • Establishing a core structure with a team of 11 district
character, with vision and mission statements, a strategic      coordinating agencies and a PACS Programme team for
plan, a core organisational structure, district coordinating    decentralisation at the district level.
agencies, short-term action plan and a secretariat. At a
                                                                • Undertaking at least two micro-initiatives for advocacy
meeting held in Pune, at the office of PACS Programme
                                                                and information sharing at the wider level.
partner, AFARM, a committee was formed to draft a
strategic plan. A PACS Programme CSO, Social Action             Some of the expected outputs were:
for Association and Development (SAAD), was given the
responsibility of coordinating. The strategic committee         • Formation of drought forums in 11 districts.
held three meetings to draft the plan, which was widely         • Creation of a cadre of 400 drought warriors.
circulated and put up before all partner CSOs at the peer       • Mass mobilisation to actively link 2,000-odd villages to

the drought forum process.                                        organisation, development project or funding agency. It
• Building a comprehensive MIS based on information               would be run in an open and democratic manner. While
obtained from diaries maintained by drought warriors.             state-level strategies and activities would be firmed up
• Mobilisation of resources to ensure continuity of drought       through consensus, member organisations would be
forum processes and activities after the end of the PACS          encouraged to use freedom and flexibility at the district,
Programme in March 2008.                                          taluka and village levels.

It was decided that the organisation, management and              Membership to the forum would be open to all individuals,
coordination of activities towards these objectives would         groups and organisations who:
be done by the drought secretariat. By consensus, SAAD
was given the responsibility of running the secretariat           • Believe in the vision and mission of the forum.
for the first six months. The secretariat is located in the       • Are ready to work on a collective basis with mutual
office of Rural Development Centre, a well-known PACS             respect.
Programme CSO, in Telgaon, Beed.                                  • Are ready to share their experiences, experiments and
A core strategy planning committee was formed as the              • Believe in people-centred development processes,
executive body of the forum. All decisions of the forum           transparency and accountability.
would be ratified and executed through the secretariat. The       • Are ready to work as a pressure group for social change.
forum is guided by an advisory committee comprising               • Believe in promoting and nurturing local leadership.
well-known experts and the PACS Programme’s director.
                                                                  At present, the forum has no membership fee.
It was explicitly decided that the forum would be inclusive
rather than exclusive. It would not be ‘owned’ by any             A wide network

                                                                  Working with these principles, the DHMJ drought forum
DHMJ strategy planning committee members
                                                                  has emerged as a broadbased and wide network. While
     Member                 Organisation                          some organisations involved in earlier DHMJ processes
     Ramakant Kulkarni      Sahayog Nirmitee, Latur               are no longer linked to the forum, the forum has garnered
     Sudhakar Kshirsagar    Sankalp Manav Vikas Sansthan, Jalna   participation from several individuals and organisations
                                                                  from across Marathwada and Vidarbha who are not linked
     Prafull Shinde         Sampark, Mumbai
                                                                  to the PACS Programme, or had not been actively involved
     Mangala Daithankar     Social Action for Association and
                            Development (SAAD), Hingoli           in DHMJ’s genesis.
     Manohar Hepat          Indian Institute of                   The network works through identified district-level
                            Youth Welfare (IIYW), Gadchiroli
                                                                  coordinating agencies (NGOs), which have activated
     Madhukar Dhas          Dilasa, Yavatmal
                                                                  district-level forums involving on average 40 member
     Dr Joshi Patodekar     Parivartan, Nanded
                                                                  NGOs. Each district forum meets on one fixed day of
     B P Suryawanshi        Kala Pandhari Magasvargiya and        the month and, till June 2007, over 50 district meetings
                            Adivasi Gramin Vikas Sanstha
                            (Kala Pandhari), Latur                had been held to discuss and identify key district-level
     Mohan Surve            Vikas Sahyog Pratishtan
                                                                  advocacy issues and action plans. District forum activities
                            (VSP), Buldhana                       are coordinated by a convenor belonging to one DHMJ
     Pramod Jhinjade        Mahatma Phule                         partner in the district.
                            Samaj Sewa Mandal
                            (MPSSM), Osmanabad                    DHMJ district convenors
     Ramesh Bhise           Jan Vikas Samajik Sanstha (JVSS),       District        Convenor
                                                                    Aurangabad      Yugandhar Mandavkar, Grass Roots
DHMJ advisory committee members                                                     Action for Social Participation
     Member                Organisation
                                                                    Jalna           Sudhakar Kshirsagar, Sankalp
     Dr Mukund Ghare       Action for Agricultural
                           Renewal in Maharashtra                   Beed            Eknath Awad, RDC
                           (AFARM), Pune
                                                                    Nanded          Dr Joshi Patodekar, Parivartan
     Eknath Awad           Rural Development Centre, Beed
                                                                    Parbhani        Suryakant Kulkarni, SEDT
     Suryakant Kulkarni    Socio Economic
                           Development Trust                        Hingoli         Mangala Daithankar, SAAD
                           (SEDT), Parbhani
                                                                    Osmanabad       Vishwanath Todkar, Paryay
     Manohar Golpelwar Indian Institute of Youth Welfare
                       (IIYW), Gadchiroli                           Latur           Ramakant Kulkarni, Sahayog Nirmitee
     Dr J M Gandhi         Marathwada Sheti Sahayya                 Yavatmal        Dr Kishore Moghe, Gramin Samasya
                           Mandal (MSSM), Aurangabad                                Mukti Trust (GSMT)
     Kiran Sharma          PACS Programme Management                Buldhana        Mohan Surve, VSP
                           Consultants (Development
                           Alternatives, New Delhi)                 Gadchiroli      Manohar Hepat, IIYW

Range of initiatives                                                roko at Chausala, in Beed, in May 2004, demanding the
                                                                    start of EGS work for the benefit of people living in 50
DHMJ has evolved as a dynamic and open forum that takes up
                                                                    villages covered by the PACS Programme. The protestors
initiatives in response to area-specific needs and opportunities,
                                                                    blocked traffic on a main road for nearly four hours,
and the capacities and background of its CSO partners.
                                                                    forcing the district collector to visit the site. After listening
Additionally, some initiatives such as the preparation of drought
                                                                    to the demands and complaints of the protestors, the
diaries (discussed below) are taken across all districts in which
                                                                    collector ordered the immediate start of 12 EGS projects in
the forum is active. Broadly, the initiatives taken up so far by
                                                                    the area. As a result, around 2,000 people became eligible
district DHMJ forums and their partners are:
                                                                    for employment, cash and food. The collector also increased
• Mass mobilisation to highlight pressing issues and move           the supply of drinking water by tanker and declared that he
local authorities to action, usually with local/district/           would look into complaints of malpractice.
regional media support.
• Campaigns to raise awareness about the EGS, and                   Another PACS Programme partner, Sahayog Nirmitee,
liaising with the authorities to ensure timely and proper           undertook a detailed survey of the drought situation in 32
implementation of works under the scheme.                           villages of Ausa taluka in Latur district, and Osmanabad’s
• Strengthening the cadre of drought warriors.                      Tuljapur taluka. The survey revealed that in these villages,
• Research on water-related issues.                                 around 450 families had migrated due to drought and there
• Promotion of the Maharashtra Rural Employment                     was large-scale sale of cattle. These facts were highlighted in
Guarantee Scheme, based on the National Rural                       the local media, forcing the district authorities to sit up and
Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).                                take note. The CSO strengthened its case by conducting
• Promotion of alternative agricultural practices.                  an intensive door-to-door survey in 16 villages; in five
• Construction of water conservation structures.                    of the villages, it was groups of women who collected
                                                                    information that was attested by gram panchayat seals.
In addition, DHMJ partners have worked on issues such as            Simultaneously, through posters and lectures, the CSO
Right to Information (RTI). In Osmanabad, village-level             made people aware of the procedure for getting their
meetings (chawdi vachan) on the Right to Information Act            entitlements under the EGS and organised pani yatras
have been held at 200 locations.                                    (water rallies) in severely affected villages.
Taking to the streets                                               Sahayog Nirmitee then organised two massive rasta rokos,
                                                                    including one on the Mumbai-Hyderabad highway. Over
                                                                    3,000 people from around 25 villages in Ausa taluka,
                                                                    including hundreds of women and the local MLA, took
                                                                    part in the protest. The district authorities were forced to
                                                                    take several immediate steps. The CSO submitted 2,800
                                                                    EGS work demand forms from eight villages in Tuljapur
                                                                    taluka and 11 villages in Ausa taluka. The authorities
                                                                    immediately started EGS projects in six villages in Tuljapur
                                                                    taluka and three villages in Ausa. Within a 15-day period
                                                                    in May-June, EGS employment in Ausa doubled. EGS
                                                                    payments and food coupons were distributed promptly and
                                                                    a number of cases of irregular payments were taken up and
                                                                    resolved. The supply of tanker water was increased to some
                                                                    severely affected areas.

A rasta roko by cattle was one of the innovative                    While 2005-06 saw relatively good, even excessive, rainfall,
campaigns organised by the DHMJ                                     DHMJ partners were compelled to again take to the streets
                                                                    in 2006-07:
Due to inherent limitations in the way the government
reacts to water scarcity situations, relief and remedial            • In Buldhana, in December 2006, the Vikas Sahyog
measures are not usually provided on time. For example,             Pratishtan (VSP) organised a rally of around 3,000 people
this year in Latur district, seven talukas were declared            from 11 villages, including current and former sarpanchs,
scarcity-hit as late as May 6, 2007. Most of the affected           to highlight a range of issues such as the need for an EGS.
people got the information only a week later. Until the             In April 2007, it organised a hunger strike before the taluka
first week of June, government relief measures had not yet          office in Shegaon to highlight the acute water problem
started rolling. Under such circumstances, which are the            in one village, Taroda-di, which had a non-functioning
norm rather than the exception, mass mobilisation and               drinking water scheme. Several women, including the
agitation become necessary.                                         sarpanch of the village, took part in the protest. The
                                                                    authorities were compelled to activate the village’s water
‘Taking to the streets’ has been a regular feature of DHMJ          supply scheme, by arranging for supply from another
work since its inception. The first agitations were launched        village. Plans for construction of a pucca access road to the
in the summer of 2004. JVSS held a massive rally and rasta          village were also sanctioned. In May 2007,VSP organised

Women’s self-help groups initiated under the PACS Programme help mobilise people and generate awareness

drought padyatras in Shegaon, Mehkar and Nandura               Campaigning for the EGS
talukas; heads of DHMJ lead CSOs from Latur and
Yavatmal, and the DHMJ coordinator, also participated.         Maharashtra’s Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS)
• In Osmanabad, four rasta rokos were organised in 2007        was framed in response to a major drought in the early
to highlight the need for EGS works and fodder scarcity;       1970s, and remains an essential form of state support to
animals were taken out into the streets as part of the         people living in drought-prone regions. While marginal
protest.                                                       landowners and the landless require EGS during lean
• In Latur, dharnas were held over five days in different      agricultural seasons, whether there is a drought or
parts of Jalkot taluka in May 2007, to demand EGS              not, during the 2003-04 drought even people from
work and drinking water supply; a rasta roko was held in       relatively well-to-do rural families applied for EGS
Kingaon. The issue of ration and fodder scarcity in Chakur     work. Unfortunately, the elaborate bureaucratic system
taluka was highlighted.                                        of planning, sanctioning and implementing EGS work is
• Rural Development Centre, Beed, organised rallies all        beset by a number of problems. Directly impacting EGS
across Beed, Parbhani, Latur, Osmanabad and Hingoli, in        applicants is a mismatch between demand and supply
April 2007, to highlight a range of issues including poor      of jobs, both in terms of numbers as well as timings,
functioning of the PDS. Around 10,000 people, most of          and irregularities in wage payments. Until such time
them women, participated.                                      as the scheme is made fully responsive and transparent
• In Yavatmal, DHMJ partners organised a unique form of        — or alternative sources of income and employment are
protest — people clapped hands and laughed loudly until        generated on a large scale — campaigning for timely and
the tehsildar of Umerkhed was shamed into arranging for        proper execution of the EGS will continue to be top of the
water supply by tanker to meet the acute water scarcity.       agenda for any CSO working in a drought-prone area.
• In Parbhani, morchas were held at each tehsil office to
demand EGS work and water supply. A former MLA of              Many DHMJ partners have been working on EGS issues
Sonepat was among the participants. DHMJ partners also         for years. Among the specific steps taken in 2007 are:
took up the issue of improper functioning of ration shops.
                                                               • In Jalna, DHMJ partners mobilised the submission of
Following their efforts, the licences of nine shops have
                                                               work application forms from 36 villages in Jalna, Ambad
been cancelled and the responsibility of running the outlets
given to women’s self-help groups.                             and Badnapur talukas. Around 4,000 applications were
                                                               submitted. When action was not forthcoming, women
DHMJ partners have also organised several local-               gheraoed the officials concerned.
level agitations to ensure proper functioning of Public        • In Buldhana, DHMJ partners surveyed EGS workers in
Distribution System (PDS) shops. Rallies have been             44 villages. Padyatras were held in nine villages of three
held in all districts, culminating in the submission of        talukas, and officials were gheraoed to press for demands
memorandums to the district collector.                         for work.

• In Parbhani, morchas and dharnas were organised in              their observations with extensive photography. The research
Palam, Pathri and Sonepat talukas to demand EGS work.             teams were earlier trained and briefed by experts at a
• In Latur, local folk art troupes were used to generate          workshop held by GRASP in Aurangabad; representatives
awareness about the EGS; over 4,800 work applications             from several DHMJ partners also participated in this
were submitted.                                                   workshop.
• In Beed, DHMJ partners took up the issue of delayed
wage payments in Majalgaon and Kolwani talukas.                   Kannad has 344 percolation tanks, most of them built
                                                                  between 1981 and 2000 (Aurangabad district, as a whole,
Apart from these taluka and district-level initiatives, several   has over 2,000 such tanks). The GRASP sample reflected
village-level activities also took place. For instance, in        the age and size pattern of percolation in the block. The
Beed’s Majalgaon taluka, women protested and successfully         study revealed that:
stopped the use of excavators in EGS work in one village;
in Kari, they stopped an EGS contractor from hiring               • 30% of the tanks do not fulfil the purpose of percolation
labour brought in from outside the village.                       and recharge of groundwater sources.
                                                                  • 19% of the tanks suffer leaks in the embankments.
Strengthening the cadre of drought warriors                       • In 30% of the tanks, waste weirs are damaged.
                                                                  • In 45% of the tanks, embankments have eroded or the
While a cadre of around 200 drought warriors (see earlier)        pitching is damaged.
was created in 2005, several training programmes have             • Siltation as a result of untreated upper catchments occurs
been held to expand the cadre after the DHMJ acquired             in 93.5% of the tanks.
a formal character. After potential drought warriors were
identified at the district level by DHMJ partners, from           The Kannad taluka percolation tank study throws up basic
among their own staff and the communities they work               issues like:
with, training for people from two or more districts was
clubbed together. Accordingly, in 2007:                           • Poor planning and selection of sites, with the result that
                                                                  percolation tanks fail to meet their primary purpose — in
• 60 people from Parbhani, Hingoli and Nanded                     some tanks percolation is so poor that standing water is
participated in a drought warrior training programme.             seen even in summer.
• 40 people from Beed and Osmanabad were trained.                 • Total absence of a maintenance machinery for the
• 40 people from Yavatmal, Buldhana and Gadchiroli were           tanks. Maintenance is clearly not a priority for relevant
trained.                                                          government departments. Local people feel it is the
• 39 people from Aurangabad and Jalna were trained.               government’s responsibility. The irony is that, as the
• 45 people from Latur were trained.                              GRASP study shows, some maintenance work could be
                                                                  carried out with little money or effort.
In all the above cases, the training module developed in          • Water resources are not developed in an integrated
2005 was used. As some drought warriors trained in 2005           manner. Building of tanks without catchment area
are no longer associated with DHMJ, the cadre strength            treatment is a shortcut that makes little sense. Heavy
currently is estimated at between 300 and 350.                    siltation is inevitable, reducing the life and utility of the
Drought warriors work as village-level activists who              tank — even if the silt is removed, it builds up again.
identify issues, mobilise people and pass on relevant             The findings of the study have been summarised and are
information to DHMJ partners and district forums,                 being disseminated among the concerned authorities and
enabling the facilitation of larger mobilisation and              political leaders. GRASP has also arranged for distribution
advocacy efforts. Drought warriors also fill up drought           of 300 copies of a book on rainwater harvesting.
diaries, as discussed later.
                                                                  Promotion of the Maharashtra Rural Employment
Research on water-related issues                                  Guarantee Scheme
There is little independent research on water-related             The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
issues in Maharashtra’s drought-prone areas. Some NGOs            (NREGS) is currently operational as the Maharashtra
with requisite expertise and funding do conduct research          Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MREGS) in
activities but these are generally limited to their own           12 districts of the state, under a state Act framed for this
projects. There is little effort to cover a wider area, with      purpose. Five of these districts (Aurangabad, Hingoli,
the aim of identifying problems in policymaking and               Nanded, Gadchiroli and Yavatmal) are covered by DHMJ.
implementation. DHMJ has made a start in plugging
this gap.                                                         The NREGS is better than the state EGS in some
                                                                  important respects:
In May 2007, a DHMJ and PACS Programme partner
in Aurangabad, GRASP, undertook a unique situational              • Gram sabhas are formally involved in the planning and
analysis of percolation tanks in Kannad block of the district.    selection of works.
Field research was carried out on 107 tanks in 25 villages,       • There is greater financial and technical transparency
by teams of geologists and students who supplemented              due to mechanisms of social audit, and local vigilance

Supervised by CSOs, this MREGS work in Nanded has prevented rainwater from eroding several neighbouring fields

committees.                                                    minister, demanding inclusion of the district under the
• It is more than merely a guaranteed employment scheme,       MREGS. The CSOs have been instrumental in the
which is what the EGS has become in many instances.            preparation of over 46,000 job cards. MREGS training
The NREGS is explicitly aimed at building long-term            programmes have been held in Aurangabad. In Yavatmal,
community assets such as soil and water conservation           DHMJ partners were instrumental in the issuing of around
structures.                                                    13,000 job cards, and securing work for 1,200 applicants.

Further, the NREGS offers scope for direct involvement of      In Nanded, a DHMJ partner, Parivar Pratishtan, which is
NGOs in various aspects of implementation.                     associated with PACS Programme CSO Socio Economic
                                                               Development Trust (SEDT), took up an offer made by the
Realising the opportunities and potential offered by the       district’s dynamic collector to work as an ‘implementing
NREGS, the PACS Programme decided, even before the             agency’ for the MREGS. An implementing agency plans,
launch of the scheme in February 2006, that promotion          estimates and monitors MREGS work, with the help
and monitoring of the NREGS would be a priority area           of local communities. In Maharashtra, agencies get the
of work for partner CSOs, whatever their other approved        equivalent to 2% of the total cost of work they handle as
project objectives. Programme partners across all states,      management fees.
including Maharashtra, were involved in an intensive
awareness-building and data-collection drive held in July      Leveraging the district DHMJ forum, Parivar Pratishtan
2006. NREGS status reports were compiled from field            organised a meeting between CSOs in the district and
data in each state; a national NREGS status report with        the authorities, in November 2006, to explore how
recommendations was prepared; NREGS tribunals were             CSOs could take on the job of implementing agencies.
held at the India Social Forum, New Delhi, in November         Representatives from around 50 CSOs turned up. As
2006. These efforts were followed up with CSO-level            most CSOs were new to this kind of work, they initially
campaigns to ensure registration of households, distribution   resisted the idea. The CSOs’ attitude changed when Parivar
of jobs cards, and payment of proper wages.                    Pratishtan demonstrated, in 10 villages, how to work as an
                                                               implementing agency. Parivar Pratishtan helped the district
In Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district, PACS Programme            administration identify and select interested CSOs. By
and DHMJ partners gheraoed the district guardian               June 2007, 48 CSOs, all DHMJ partners, were appointed

as implementing agencies to manage all MREGS work              In Gadchiroli, 12 DHMJ partners have taken on the
done in Nanded district. Parivar Pratishtan also helped        responsibility of conducting MREGS social audits. The
the administration find suitable candidates for the post of    Indian Institute of Youth Welfare (IIYW) organised
Assistant Programme Officer (APO); 17 APOs have been           and monitored social audit processes in 41 villages
appointed, one for each block in the district. During the      in Chamorshi taluka. The audits revealed several
first week of June 2007, MREGS work was underway at            implementation lacunae, and to plug these, IIYW has been
328 locations in Nanded, employing 23,241 people. In all,      asked by the district administration to train members of
around 250 CSO staff were involved in MREGS-related            local vigilance committees.

Parivar Pratishtan is helping the administration bring out a   In Buldhana, DHMJ partners have raised the issue of non-
monthly MREGS magazine. It has trained over 300 people         availability of work for disabled people.
to conduct MREGS social audits in 133 villages. Micro-         Promotion of alternative agricultural practices
planning, with the involvement of local people, APOs and
CSOs has begun at a number of locations. Implementation        DHMJ carries out its activities with a dual perspective:
of the MREGS in Nanded is a ‘model’ for other districts to     while a lot of effort is required to meet the immediate
follow.                                                        needs of people in drought-prone areas, such as timely
                                                               EGS work, the forum also has to work towards realisation
In Hingoli, DHMJ partner Ugam arranged for the                 of the long-term goal of eradicating the negative impact
distribution of 150,000 MREGS registration forms               of drought. Promotion of alternative agricultural practices
throughout the district. Taking a cue from Nanded,             like organic farming is among the long-term initiatives
Ugam worked with the district administration to prepare        undertaken by some DHMJ partners.
formats for estimation and approval of work related to
the construction of tanks and wells in hilly and non-          Organic farming is particularly suited to drought-prone
hilly areas. The formats use laid-down estimation norms,       areas as it requires less water and involves significantly
hence approval is speedy. Around 2,500 copies of these         lower input costs, making agriculture more viable. Under
estimates have been distributed in 500 villages. Over          a PACS Programme project, DHMJ partner AFARM is
5,000 applications for work under the MREGS have been          working with CSOs in Marathwada to demonstrate the
submitted.                                                     effectiveness and viability of organic farming, especially to
                                                               farmers from dalit and marginalised communities who have
Although Ugam has mobilised and motivated CSOs to              occupied gairan (grazing) land. Soil and water conservation
work as implementing agencies, MREGS work has not              practices, and the use of organic fertiliser and pesticides, are
speeded up due to various procedural delays. The matter        explained at certain ‘demonstration villages’. A beginning
has been taken up with the government.                         has been made in dryland organic horticulture, and local

In Yavatmal, a DHMJ partner used traditional irrigation methods to bring multiple benefits to a community of shepherds

The effect of seasonal migration on children’s education is yet to be adequately addressed by civil society or government

people have been trained to promote organic farming.             of the village, these offer multiple benefits.
In Hingoli, DHMJ partner Ugam already has a network
                                                                 Over 100 acres have been brought under irrigation and
of 2,500 farmers who are committed to following the
                                                                 annual production of wheat and onions in the village has
procedures and practices required to get organic farming
                                                                 increased by 450 quintals and 225 quintals respectively.
certification.                                                   To provide sprayed water to onion seedlings, Dilasa
                                                                 introduced a bicycle pump in the village, made by Pune-
Construction of water conservation structures
                                                                 based inventor Chandrakant Pathak. One person sits on
DHMJ partners such as the Vikas Sahyog Pratishtan                a stationary bicycle and pedals it, while another does the
in Buldhana have mobilised communities to erect                  spraying. No electricity or diesel is required. Four
                                                                 farmers are currently using the pump and more are
temporary ‘vanrai bandhars’ across watercourses. The
                                                                 planning to buy it.
structures do not last long, but they do meet the
people’s water needs for several months in a year.               In another village, Mohoda (Pandharkawda taluka),
Whenever feasible, through external funding, DHMJ                Dilasa cleaned up a silted tank and initiated construction
partners have undertaken the construction of more                of canals, with help from the Minor Irrigation
permanent solutions.                                             Project, Maharashtra (MIPM), an Indo-German initiative.
                                                                 While the MIPM contributed Rs 1.90 crore, each
For instance, in Dhangarwadi, Ghatanji taluka,Yavatmal           of the 80 families in the village contributed Rs 2,000.
district, DHMJ partner Dilasa, with the help of local            Around 140 acres are expected to be irrigated by
villagers, has built two cement check-dams to stop and           canal, and another 56 acres by phad or lift irrigation
store water overflowing from a poorly designed percolation       systems. A nine-member water management committee
tank. Dilasa then came up with a low-cost, environmentally       has been set up, which has decided that each farmer
                                                                 will get water to irrigate three hectares of land during the
friendly arrangement for supplying water from the dams
                                                                 kharif season, and one or two hectares during
to the fields. Instead of constructing conventional canals, it
                                                                 the rabi season. Farmers will pay Rs 300 per season per
used the traditional phad irrigation system. Small, shallow      hectare for water. With this money, the committee will
channels were dug along the contours of the land to              employ two workers to manage the daily work of water
distribute water. The speed of water flow is automatically       distribution. The committee also expects to earn Rs
slowed down; its direction can be changed easily; no pumps       15,000-Rs 20,000 every year by issuing licences for
are required. For the predominantly shepherd community           fishing in the tank.

Analysis of drought diaries showed blatant exploitation of groundwater, especially by farmers growing cash crops

Drought diaries: estimation of the ground realities               state’s Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS). Work has
in 800 villages                                                   started in 231 villages. However, in 229 villages, machines
                                                                  have been used for excavation, in violation of the letter and
One of DHMJ’s most important initiatives has been the             spirit of the scheme. People are being paid on a piece-work
preparation of drought diaries by drought warriors across         basis, and daily wages received are in the range of Rs 25
all the areas in which the forum is active.                       and Rs 65 — below the stipulated minimum wage of
The idea of a drought diary — which is in questionnaire           Rs 66-Rs 72.
format — to gather data related to water and food scarcity        • Overall, EGS work like construction of farm ponds,
was mooted in the forum in 2005. In 2006-07, the format           percolation tanks, bunds, roads and wells have been
was expanded and refined. Prepared by Sampark, with               undertaken in 438 of the 804 villages, but information
help from the DHMJ strategic committee, and pre-tested,           about these works is not displayed in the gram panchayats
the final format has around 80 question heads, covering a         of 205 villages.
gamut of issues ranging from the availability of water in the     • In 271 villages (38%), farmers have been compelled to
village to the status of EGS work, incidence of migration,        sell land, and in 245 villages (30%), farmers have mortgaged
status of government welfare schemes and incidence of             agricultural land to take loans. There were reports of
child labour.                                                     farmers having committed suicide due to indebtedness,
                                                                  from 118 villages.
Each drought diary captures information from one village;         • Over 9,300 child labourers were found in hotels and
a drought warrior is expected to fill up the diary with the       other establishments, in 314 villages.
help of knowledgeable people in the village. Each drought
warrior is expected to cover one to five villages. Filling up     The drought diary analysis shows the gravity of the water,
a drought diary for a village involves two to three days of       employment and agriculture crises (during a summer
field work.                                                       preceded by relatively good rainfall) and the inadequacy of
                                                                  the government response. From a civil society perspective,
The first set of drought diaries was filled in over 800           it also highlights the need for advocacy at the highest level.
villages in March-April 2007. Subsequently, data from 804
villages was collated, analysed and presented in a report by      Advocacy at the highest level
Sampark. The analysis showed that:
                                                                  Sampark, the PACS Programme-supported Mumbai-
• Groundwater levels are satisfactory in only 109 (13%) of        based communications and advocacy unit has many years
the 804 villages, and within critical limits in another 221       of experience of working closely with state legislators to
villages (27%). In the remaining 60% of villages surveyed,        ensure that area-based and issue-based questions are raised
groundwater is at a critical level of over 200 feet. In 29%       during assembly proceedings. Several DHMJ members also
(238) of villages it is at a depth of 300-400 feet, and in 12%    have established relations with policymakers; for instance,
(96) of villages it is at a depth of 400-500 feet.                SEDT is involved in the formulation of state policies
• Women in 65% of villages have to collect drinking water         related to children. DHMJ is thus in a good position to
from outside their villages. In 38% of villages, women            advocate for issues at the level of policymakers in the state.
have to collect water from a distance of 1-2 km; in 25% of
                                                                  An initiative taken recently was a meeting with state
villages they have to walk 2-5 km, and in 14% of villages
                                                                  opposition leader Ramdas Kadam, in Mumbai, on July 12,
they have to collect water from a distance of over 5 km.
                                                                  2007. Twelve DHMJ representatives including the forum’s
• Women from 369 villages (48%) spend one hour every
                                                                  coordinator met the opposition leader and apprised him
day collecting water. Women from 250 villages (33%) spend
                                                                  of the drought forum processes. They discussed a range of
two hours a day, and women from 127 villages (17%) spend
                                                                  issues including:
three hours a day on this activity.
• Due to water scarcity, people in around one-fourth of           • Lacunae in the manner in which drought is declared and
the surveyed villages do not bathe every day, and children        villages are deemed scarcity-hit.
from around a sixth of the villages do not attend school          • Non-inclusion of certain drought-prone talukas in the
regularly.                                                        state’s proposed ‘dushkal mahamandal’ (drought alleviation
• There are 2,698 handpumps in the 804 villages. But of           corporation).
these, 1,265 pumps (nearly 50%) do not work.
• Discrimination against dalits is evident. In 25% of             DHMJ members also informed the opposition leader about
the surveyed villages there are no water sources in dalit         problems with implementation of the MREGS in Hingoli,
habitations; the people here live at the mercy or occasional      and the Kannad percolation tank study. The opposition
kindness of farmers who have wells in the vicinity.               leader assured the delegation that he would raise these
• Water is available for cattle in 560 of the villages, and       issues in the assembly. Specifically, he would:
feed is available in 458 villages. However, the price of cattle   • Demand transparency in the declaration of drought
feed has increased by 200%-300%. Cattle camps have been           and scarcity, with the involvement of gram sabhas in the
opened only in 21 villages, and in 441 villages (55%) there       process.
were reports of farmers selling cattle to slaughterhouses.        • Press for maintenance and repair of village tanks and wells
• People from 374 villages had demanded work under the            under the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS).

Advocacy of this kind obviously requires sustained follow-        child rights, women’s empowerment and panchayati raj,
up; this is one of the major challenges the DHMJ will face        within the framework of projects supported by several
in the future.                                                    funding agencies. Drought, chronic water scarcity, and
                                                                  related problems are the issues that bring them all together
Major campaign                                                    in DHMJ. But these are primary issues central to the
                                                                  resolution of all other issues in backward Marathwada and
To facilitate and create a strong advocacy force of people        Vidarbha. DHMJ members will have to maintain this focus
belonging to dalit and other marginalised communities, the        even as they fulfil their other project commitments.
DHMJ planned a four-month (August to November 2007)
campaign in 1,100 villages of 70 blocks of the 11 districts       DHMJ members will also have to work towards their
covered by the forum.                                             long-term goal of eradicating drought, or, more precisely,
                                                                  the negative impacts of poor rainfall. Apart from working
The objective was to organise marginalised sections to            together to press for government relief efforts, DHMJ
address the issues of livelihood, injustice and violence          members will have to demonstrate viable, long-term ways
through involvement of panchayati raj institutions and the        of improving food security and livelihood opportunities
state government.                                                 in an unfavourable physical and social environment
                                                                  characterised by relatively low rainfall, generally degraded
The strategy adopted was to motivate gram sabhas to               soil, poor irrigation facilities, unregulated groundwater
pass appropriate resolutions that could be submitted to           overexploitation and persistent discrimination against dalits
the highest political authorities of the state at a major         and tribals.
‘hakka parishad’ (convention for demand of rights) held
in October-November 2007. The gram sabha resolutions
would be supported by facts and figures from numerous
villages on the implementation status of EGS and NREGA,
status of land entitlements, and status of rights of dalits and

Challenges and concerns

DHMJ is broadbased enough to include several NGOs
unconnected with the PACS Programme. In fact, the latter
form the overwhelming majority of DHMJ members.
However, the fact remains that the DHMJ process was
facilitated by the PACS Programme. The programme
provided a forum and the space for DHMJ to evolve. It
also directly and indirectly supported the forum. PACS
Programme investment in Maharashtra CSOs till October
2006 was to the tune of Rs 17 crore; most of these CSOs
are involved in DHMJ. Further, the programme gave funds
to set up and run the DHMJ secretariat.

Finding an alternative source of funding after the formal
closure of the PACS Programme in March 2008 is
obviously one of DHMJ’s immediate challenges. The
funding is especially required for central-level advocacy,
drought warrior training and some district-level activities.

Formal closure of the PACS Programme will also mean
that DHMJ will have to stand on its own feet, without
a unifying umbrella. As an issue-based network, DHMJ
should not find it difficult to maintain its cohesive
character, but much will depend on the direction and
leadership shown by DHMJ senior members who have
considerable standing and rich experience of working both
with people and the government. Simultaneously, while
DHMJ activities have so far been largely led by PACS
Programme CSOs that function as lead district agencies,
there is the need to evolve a second line of leadership from
within the DHMJ community.

DHMJ members are working on a diverse range of issues,
such as land rights, social and economic justice for dalits,

. Key issues

The dalit hamlet of Bhopa relies on tankers though large investments have been made for supply of water here

This section highlights with photos key issues related           families in the main village, until people of the vasti went
to water emerging from the field work, experiences and           on a hunger strike and women came out onto the road and
observations of DHMJ partners.                                   stopped the tanker. Since then, the dalits are the first to get
                                                                 water. But that is little consolation. A cement tank installed
Manmade scarcity                                                 in the vasti for collecting water from the tanker is leaking.
                                                                 So people have to get their own pipes and fill up water in
There is no reason the dalit vasti (hamlet) outside Bhopa        ghaghars (vessels for storing water). Depending on the age,
village (near Telgaon, Beed) should suffer from chronic          agility and number of people in a family, a family can fill
water scarcity. There is an expansive artificial lake near the   five to 20 ghaghars in one trip of the tanker.
village. Behind the earth bund of the lake is a huge well
built by the government for supplying water to the village.      The tanker has a busy schedule. Sometimes it arrives in the
There are handpumps for drinking water in the vasti.             dalit vasti around midnight. Some days it does not arrive.
                                                                 People then walk one kilometre to fetch water from a
But the people of the dalit vasti are dependent on water         private well, suffering the owner’s curses.
tankers. Because:
                                                                 People in the vasti and activists of the Dushkal Hatavu
• All the water from the artificial lake is sucked up by         Manus Jagavu (DHMJ) working with them ask the
pumps installed by large sugarcane farmers. Water is carried     following questions:
through underground plastic pipes over a distance of three
kilometres and more. In summer, there is no dead stock of        • Is the lake created by the government meant only for big
water in the lake.                                               sugarcane farmers?
• A pipeline running from the government well near the           • Why has no effort been made to repair the pipeline to the
lake to the village is broken in several places — and has        village? Is it to give continuous business to Beed’s ‘tanker
been so for years. The well, which would cost over Rs 10         lobby’?
lakh to build today, is used only by one farmer, who has         • What is the point in the government drilling a drinking
land near it.                                                    water borewell, when it has no control over private
• There are around 50 irrigation borewells in an area of 100     borewells that will suck it dry?
square metres around the vasti. As a result, no water can be
extracted from two government handpumps.                         There is a law (see Section 4) to prevent private borewells
                                                                 around a public drinking water source. But the law can be
People of the vasti are thus dependent on a water tanker         invoked only after the gram panchayat lodges a complaint.
that fills up water from a 425-deep borewell in the area         How can dalits, who form a minority in villages, move
that has been requisitioned for this purpose. The tanker         the gram panchayat to take action against big farmers who
would pass by the vasti and first supply water to non-dalit      usually control the panchayat?

While the state’s groundwater use regulation Act requires
a fundamental relook, as discussed in Section 4, there is
another line of action government can take: It can give
legal status to gram sabhas in dalit vastis, which can then
initiate action to protect drinking water sources.
The condition of government handpumps in Bhopa also
highlights the need for a taluka-level study of the actual
status of thousands of public drinking water borewells.
Some have never served any purpose; others ran dry a
few days or weeks after they were tested; some are so
poorly installed that water can be extracted and collected
only by extraordinary effort. There are also thousands
of handpumps that have gone dry after three years or
five years, due to overexploitation of groundwater or
mechanical problems. In these circumstances, all official
claims about number of handpumps in a particular taluka
or district are quite meaningless.
The actual status of rural piped water schemes has to
be also studied and followed up with a time-bound
programme for solving routine problems such as leakages
in tanks, non-working electric motors, or stoppage of the
scheme due to non-payment of electricity bills.
There is also the issue of delayed project implementation,
which is dealt with below.
Monumental delays
Janwal in Chakur taluka of Latur is a large village, with
a population of over 8,000. A village of this size should
have a water supply scheme. But Janwal doesn’t. What it
does have is a monument to government indifference and
There is a large water tank built in the village with public
money. But the water supply scheme, initiated in 1992,
reportedly at a cost of Rs 1.75 crore, has been executed in        The water tank in Janwal serves no purpose as the water
fits and starts. It is yet to be completed, and yet to serve any   supply scheme is incomplete
                                                                   weeks on end, they say. Indira Awas allotments were made
There are eight handpumps in the village, all useless. People      without holding a gram sabha meeting. There is rampant
fetch water from a small public tank; in the last three years,     corruption in the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS),
two people have fallen into the tank and drowned. In the           people allege. The primary health centre in the village has
summer months, the village depends on water supplied by            no resident doctor; if a woman is going to deliver a baby
a tanker twice a day.                                              in the night, she has to be rushed to Latur, a journey that
                                                                   takes one-and-a-half hours.
People wonder if the government water supply scheme
would make any difference even if it were completed.               Janwal lies in the taluka of the Union home minister,
Its source is surface water tanks situated two to four             and in the district of the state’s chief minister. People ask:
kilometres from the village that are already filled with mud.      “If this is our condition, imagine what it must be for
People think if the village has to get water it will have to       people who have no such godfathers.” In an atmosphere
be sourced from another tank, 13 km away. That would               of frustration, the village is deeply divided. Alcoholism is
mean more money, more time for revision of estimates, and          common.
a longer wait for water.
                                                                   Janwal’s plight, repeated in varying degrees across the state,
The people’s patience is running out. Women say quarrels           demands this immediate action: Constitution of district-
over water have become a daily occurrence. In March                level committees comprising top officials and elected
2007, 90 young men from the village went on a four-day             representatives to identify all delayed water supply schemes
hunger strike outside the panchayat bhavan, demanding              and supervise time-bound programmes for their quick
immediate resolution of the water problem. All that                completion. The effort would require revision of technical
happened was that the authorities proposed to drill two            and financial estimates and special allocation of funds.
more borewells in the village.
                                                                   Another kind of effort would be required to repair and
People have little faith in the government machinery. The          maintain village-level water structures, discussed in the
gram sevak appointed for the village does not turn up for          following pages.

Percolated funds                                                   no long-term benefit for people.
There are over 2,000 percolation tanks in Aurangabad               Alarmingly, the Kannad taluka study showed that ‘zero
district built with public money at various times. Over 300        maintenance’ of percolation tanks is the norm — and
of these tanks are in one taluka, Kannad, and, as shown            percolation tanks do need maintenance. However, while
by a study (see Section 2) undertaken in May 2007 by               contractors and officials consider their job done after a tank
DHMJ partner Grass Roots Action for Social Participation           has been built, communities have no sense of ownership
(GRASP), many of the tanks are in bad shape.                       over such assets created with government money. This is
                                                                   not surprising as people were not involved in any stage
There are three kinds of problems. In the first case, the          of the construction of the structure. At best, some people
percolation tanks are in the wrong location. A percolation         worked at the construction site and got wages.
tank, by definition, should ensure percolation of water. An
easy to recognise indication is that unless there has been         Communities consider maintenance the government’s
heavy, unseasonal rainfall, a percolation tank should be           responsibility, though many routine maintenance problems,
practically dry in summer. This is not sometimes the case          as identified in the Kannad study, can be handled by the
— which clearly indicates wrong choice of location.                people themselves with little labour or money.
                                                                   The Kannad percolation tank study highlights the need for
                                                                   immediate status studies of all village-level, water-related
                                                                   public works, conducted with the involvement of people
                                                                   and teams of geologists and engineers. If the government
                                                                   machinery is inadequate for this purpose, voluntary
                                                                   organisations like DHMJ’s partners would gladly take on
                                                                   this job.
                                                                   Simultaneously, there is need to institutionalise people’s
                                                                   involvement in the management of community water
                                                                   works. A beginning has been made by the state government
                                                                   with regard to canal irrigation works (see Section 4).
                                                                   People’s involvement in maintenance is also a key part of
                                                                   the integrated water supply and sanitation ‘Jal Swarajya’
                                                                   scheme being implemented in 27 of Maharashtra’s 33
                                                                   districts with World Bank funding. The largest rural water
                                                                   and sanitation project in India funded by the World Bank,
                                                                   Jal Swarajya seeks to enforce involvement by demanding
                                                                   cash contributions from people.
                                                                   Many civil society leaders are doubtful about the use
                                                                   of such enforced and formulaic approaches to induce
                                                                   involvement. There are already reports of the approach
                                                                   being subverted by contractors and rich landlords who
                                                                   volunteer to pay for the poor just so that they can corner
                                                                   the benefits of the scheme. (There are more positive reports
Without proper spillways, many percolation tanks do not
meet their full potential                                          from a similar project being implemented in Ahmednagar,
                                                                   Pune and Aurangabad districts with support from the
A second problem is faulty design or construction. Typical         German banking group, KfW.)
examples are breakages in walls, incomplete or totally             Building people’s involvement is a long process. It is
absent spillways, spillways directed straight into fields,         essentially a process of social change that cannot be
spillways at the wrong level, leakage from below the wall,         achieved only by holding events and displaying posters. The
and poor pitching. All these faults seriously affect the utility   process demands close engagement with all stakeholders,
of the tank, and pose a danger to nearby fields.                   without the burden of deadlines. Reputed civil society
                                                                   organisations with experience of grassroots mobilisation are
A third, and most common problem, is that while the
                                                                   ideally suited to perform this job.
tank is in the right location and has been reasonably well
designed and constructed, no catchment area treatment              But there’s much that can and should be done by people
has been done. The tanks are thus prone to heavy silting.          themselves, without much dependence on external agents.
Desilting of tanks is one of the works that can be done            For starters, people should be taught and motivated to
under the state’s EGS, but this is no solution. Desilting of       monitor their water resources.
large tanks is not easy; sometimes, it would make more
economical sense to build a new tank. And without                  Village-level water monitoring
catchment area treatment, desilting makes no sense — the
silt that is removed from a tank will inevitably come back.        Keshav Jadhav ‘paaniwale baba’ of Shivni village in
                                                                   Kalamnuri taluka of Hingoli is a graduate in Marathi and
Due to the above three main problems, many percolation             far from being a qualified meteorologist. But he has a fund
tanks are, or will soon become, nothing more than                  of scientific knowledge that is much valued by farmers in
examples of funds percolated to contractors, with little or        the village.

Monthly data on rainfall and storage recorded by Keshav Jadhav (right) helps farmers plan cultivation

Keshav’s basic instrument is an empty plastic soft drink         All this with a thrown-away plastic bottle, some diligence,
bottle horizontally cut into two pieces. The top part is         and knowledge of plotting charts.
used upside down as a funnel that opens into the bottom
part. The bottom part has a cement base of two inches so         The example set by Keshav Jadhav (and some others
that it stands steady. On the outside of the bottom part, a      like him) can be easily replicated with simple training
millimetre scale is stuck.                                       programmes. The village-level data that will be generated
                                                                 will address a crucial issue: faulty estimation of drought
Keshav uses two such instruments. One is above the roof of       and scarcity.
his home, and the other is above the roof of a small room,
his office, near his home.                                       Faulty estimation of drought and scarcity

The instruments enable Keshav to accurately measure              Anybody with some knowledge of agriculture knows
rainfall. He also records water levels in two public wells       what the media in general does not seem to realise, and
using a measuring tape. Meticulously recorded details of         what the government does not act upon: Annual figures
both types of observation enable Keshav to give the people       of rainfall over large areas, such as a state or a district, are
of Shivni a variety of useful information.                       poor indicators of drought-like conditions at the taluka and
                                                                 village level.
For instance, before setting out for their fields in the
sowing season, farmers ask Keshav about the rainfall             There are two reasons for this. In the first case, there is
recorded over the previous 24 hours. From these figures          wide variation in rainfall within a district and within a
farmers can judge whether their distant fields have been         taluka. Secondly, there is wide variation of rainfall in a
sufficiently soaked for sowing to start.                         particular place over a period of three to four months. Due
                                                                 to these variations, there can be acute water scarcity or
Rainfall figures over a month tell farmers whether they          severe crop loss in one part of a taluka, even if the taluka as
should stick to their planned cultivation or switch to           a whole has received a good monsoon.
another crop. This estimation is made easier with the use of
a farmer’s diary prepared by agricultural universities, which    For instance, in 2004-05, the authorities saw no reason to
gives information about minimum rainfall requirements            declare a water scarcity situation in Shivni village
for various crops — for instance, if rainfall in June has been   of Kalamnuri taluka, Hingoli (mentioned above) till people
poor, then sowing soyabean is asking for a loss.                 confronted them with data that showed the rainfall in the
                                                                 village had been less than 560 mm. In 2005-06, the village
By comparing previous years’ records of rainfall and water       received 1,311 mm of rainfall, which was, by any standard,
levels in the wells, Keshav can also reasonably estimate in      a good monsoon. However, village data showed that over
September itself whether there is going to be a scarcity         three-fourths of this rain had fallen in one month, July,
situation in March-April-May.                                    destroying crops. The village faced a ‘wet drought’.

Village-level data of rainfall would help the                   little or no canal irrigation facilities, locally monitored
authorities declare a scarcity situation well in advance.       rainfall deficit should be sufficient criteria for declaring
The current practice is to make the estimate after              drought, without waiting for estimation of crop losses.
the damage is done, and even this estimation is                 This is the practice followed in predominantly rainfed
badly done.                                                     Chhattisgarh.
Since colonial times, the estimation of drought in              Maharashtra could also well learn from neighbouring
western India is done using a method known earlier as           drought-prone states such as Karnataka, which has a
annewari and now as paisewari, which should be done             drought monitoring centre to monitor rainfall and other
as follows: Assessment of crop loss due to poor rainfall is     relevant parameters on a daily basis, using the latest
to be done by a committee, including an official such as        technologies and real time communication, and Andhra
deputy mamlatdar or talathi, and people’s representatives       Pradesh, which supplements estimates of losses by using
such as the sarpanch. The committee has to estimate             data from remote sensing.
yield from three plots in a village, representing good,
medium and poor crop conditions, by actually harvesting         It is important to realise that losses suffered by people
from sample areas of the three kinds of plots. It has to then   and the environment due to poor rainfall extend over
arrive at a paisewari score, using this formula:                years after a drought. These losses are not at all taken into
100 × observed yield ÷ standard yield of the village.           account by the drought estimation procedure. Further,
If the score is less than 50, the village has to be declared    relief schemes like EGS are little compensation for total
drought-affected.                                               losses suffered.

In recent times this procedure has been rarely followed.        Employment guarantee — for what purpose?
The norm is nazar annewari — estimation of crop loss
by a talathi by merely looking around — without any             Maharashtra has the longest running employment
involvement of people.                                          guarantee scheme in the world. This is often stated as a
                                                                matter of pride, which is strange, since the continued need
Prompt and fair government response to people’s suffering       for EGS is proof of failure to develop a strong agriculture
demands that drought estimation has to be done according        base and non-agriculture income opportunities in drought-
to the laid-down procedure, with involvement of gram            prone regions.
sabhas. The government can even consider giving validity
to paisewari conducted by teams of trained villagers whose      The problems related to EGS are well known. The
estimates are certified by gram panchayats.                     problems experienced by people are discussed briefly in
                                                                Section 2. Other problems have been identified by various
In chronically drought-prone talukas of Maharashtra with        EGS committee reports, such as the 5th report

EGS is a lifeline to many, such as these tribal women in Buldhana, but they have no stake in planning or maintenance

A fully silted reservoir in Buldhana is an example of unintegrated watershed development leading to waste of resources

(2005-06) of the EGS Legislative Committee of the 11th        on the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act
State Assembly, which noted that:                             (NREGA), which has in-built mechanisms for gram sabha
                                                              involvement in planning and social audit to evaluate cost
• Works like road construction are taken up at the same       benefits and observance of all procedures.
location recurrently.
• There are ‘mysterious’ gaps between budgetary estimates     MREGS made a poor start in the state, but under a
and expenditure reports.                                      collaboration with CSOs initiated by a dynamic district
• Financial discipline is not maintained. Funds demanded      collector and a DHMJ partner, it has made great strides
are three times the actual estimation. Funds are then not     in Nanded (see Section 2). Microplanning for creation
utilised in the planned manner.                               of long-term community assets has begun in the district,
• Even basic facilities such as drinking water are not        as well as in Gadchiroli, where another DHMJ partner is
provided to workers.                                          involved in the process. In Nanded, over 300 people have
• Officials ignore the instructions of higher-ups.            received training to conduct social audits.

A more basic issue that has not been adequately addressed     The difference in the quality of work is visible. The picture
is: Is EGS supposed to only generate employment? Is it not    on page 24 shows watercourse clearing and strengthening
also supposed to create long-term community assets that       work undertaken under MREGS in Daregaon village,
will help mitigate the impact of poor rainfall?               Naygaon taluka, Nanded, for around Rs 5.5 lakh. Under
                                                              EGS, the same work was estimated at Rs 7.25 lakh — and
The second question does not figure in the current            the record of EGS works across the state hardly leads one
implementation of EGS. It is seen that works are              to believe that the inflated budget would have yielded
routinely sanctioned only to meet an immediate need for       better quality of work!
employment, or contractors’ need for income. For instance,
in Janwal village of Chakur taluka in Latur (mentioned        The Nanded MREGS ‘model’ shows the way EGS can be
earlier in this section), 11 farm ponds were excavated        taken forward. But there would be considerable obstacles
under EGS in one night, in January 2007, with the help of     and opposition. MREGS itself was hotly opposed by
excavators, local people report. The sites were not chosen    levels of bureaucracy that saw their powers diminishing
to ensure maximum benefit, and nobody knows why or            due to the NREGA mandate about the involvement of
how the sites were selected.                                  gram sabhas. EGS has been entirely under the control
                                                              of a few government departments aligned to influential
The example, repeated across the state, reflects lack of      contractors. The nexus is so strong that, as noted by the
transparency and long-term microplanning with people’s        above-mentioned legislative committee report, action has
involvement, as well as lack of accountability, other than    not been taken against officials responsible for malpractices
financial acccountability on paper. Criteria like long-term   and fake reports.
benefit and quality of work are effectively not employed.
                                                              Breaking this nexus would require political will cutting
These defects are partly addressed by the Maharashtra         across layers of vested interests — captured in a popular
Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MREGS), based              phrase on the EGS: ‘Ardhe tumhi, ardhe amhi — rozgar hami!’

(‘Half you take, half we take, and that’s how we guarantee      For all these reasons, projects have been implemented
employment to all!’).                                           without due planning or monitoring; there is little sense of
                                                                people’s ownership, and consequently, little maintenance.
Unintegrated watershed development                              Projects have been implemented using standard formulae,
                                                                irrespective of local physical and agriculture conditions.
Watershed development has a long and rich history in            Further, the emphasis has been overwhelmingly on water
Maharashtra. Soil and water conservation measures coupled       conservation, with little thought given to soil conservation
with controlled grazing were introduced way back in             or area treatment.
1942 under the Bombay Land Improvement Schemes
Act. Watershed development gained momentum after                In the case of projects done outside the EGS also, the
the 1972 drought, when the EGS was launched. In 1982,           picture is not rosy. The multiplicity of fund sources and
the Comprehensive Watershed Development Programme               guidelines has meant that there is no coordinated, district-
(COWDEP) was launched, followed by the Jal Sandharan            level planning or monitoring. The ‘mother NGO’ concept
programme. The programme became a department in                 has not been a great success; NGOs are wary of working
1992 and in 1996 it started implementing an integrated          with the government; the need for training at all levels of
watershed development programme.                                government machinery has been sidetracked; the forest
                                                                department and the GSDA are virtually out of the picture;
Watershed development projects funded entirely by the           and the programme as a whole is not backed or sustained
state government are executed through over half-a-dozen         by any legal framework.
schemes. That apart, there are around the same number
of centrally sponsored schemes, including Drought-Prone         In short, there has been ‘unintegrated’ watershed
Areas Programme (DPAP), Sampurna Gram Vikas Yojana              development. It will require enormous efforts to cut a
(SGVY) and National Watershed Development Project for           swathe through the maze of bureaucratic problems and
Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA).                                         issues and arrive at a legal and financial framework that will
                                                                ensure that the success generated in Ralegan Siddhi and in
The DPAP has become almost exclusively a watershed              other CSO-led efforts are repeated across the state.
development programme. It was modified following the
Hanumantha Rao Committee Report (1994), which                   But the starting point of the effort would have to be the
emphasised development of plans with local people,              realisation that such ‘models’ cannot be ‘replicated’; each
with funds going directly to villages, and NGOs acting          watershed is unique in its topography, soil and water
as implementing agencies. The modified DPAP also                conditions, people’s needs and their history of working
introduced the concept of a ‘mother NGO’ for district-          together. What works in one place may not work in
level NGO capacity building. Under the ‘Hariyali’               another. The key is flexibility within broad parameters of
guidelines, gram panchayats have been given a greater role      financial accountability, and trust in people’s knowledge,
in watershed projects.                                          experience and ways of management.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have also been involved      Bitter sugar
in watershed development since the 1980s. Among the
major civil society programmes is the Indo-German               As noted in Section 1, the ratio of irrigated area to total
Watershed Development Programme (IGWDP) initiated in            cultivated area in Maharashtra is extremely low — less
1989 by the Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) set up          than half the all-India ratio.Yet, water-guzzling sugarcane
by a Jesuit priest, Fr Hermann Bacher.                          is the state’s main cash crop. Promoted by visionary
                                                                entrepreneurial politicians, and later by any odd politician,
Apart from carrying out projects funded entirely by foreign     the sugarcane industry has created a strong political edifice
donor agencies, CSOs are also involved in government-           and brought varying degrees of prosperity to all those
funded watershed development through the modified               linked to that edifice.
DPAP and the Adarsh Gaon Yojana, which seeks to                 But this prosperity has come at a heavy price. Sugarcane
replicate the Ralegan Siddhi model in 300 villages.             cultivation in the state rests on horribly selfish use of
The multiplicity of agencies and approaches has led to          public investment. As noted in the Human Development
some spectacular islands of successes, but amidst a sea of      Report Maharashtra 2002 (GoM), sugarcane occupies only
half-baked, incompletely planned and finished projects.         3% of the total cropped area, but consumes over half the
                                                                surface irrigation water (including surface and groundwater
Between 1991-92 and 2005-06, the state government has
                                                                irrigation, sugarcane accounts for 17% of total irrigated
spent, through its own or centrally sponsored schemes,
                                                                area, according to GoM’s 1999-2000 Season and Crop
over Rs 4,000 crore on watershed development projects,
but by no measure is the impact on the ground anywhere
commensurate with the investment.                               Many experts and even government reports have
                                                                highlighted the need to correct this absurd imbalance. But
There are several reasons for this. The primary one is          it will not be easy to wean farmers away from sugarcane.
that nearly half the watershed development projects were        The crop is easy to grow. It is relatively pest-free. It
carried out through the EGS, which, as noted earlier in         generates returns even before harvest, through advances
this section, is basically driven by the objective of meeting   from cooperative factories. It enjoys heavy subsidies — on
demand for employment, or demands of contractors, rather        water, through subsidised electricity, and on chemical
than creation of community assets. There is no real notion      fertilisers it consumes excessively.
of involving people in planning under EGS, and there is no
effective machinery for ensuring quality control.               There is also a huge population of rural poor, especially

A large population of rural poor in Marathwada lives off sugarcane cutting, but the industry itself is in poor shape

in districts such as Beed, that lives off sugarcane cutting.      GoM announced that:
Migrating for every harvest, families hired by contractors
can earn Rs 35,000-Rs 40,000, much more than what they            • It would not support new commercial ventures in the
would earn as labour, or through their own agriculture in         cooperative sector. Prospective entrants would be advised
their drought-prone villages.                                     to take over existing sick units.
                                                                  • The government would set up a three-man board
Yet, moving away from sugarcane is essential. In fact, as the     empowered to restructure the industry, by enforcing
2007 sugar production glut amply demonstrates, the state          disinvestments, amalgamations and mergers.
has no choice.
                                                                  Several generations will have to pay for Maharashtra’s sugar
A basic fact that has to be recognised is that the state          ‘industry’. As on April 1, 2001, GoM was to receive
sugarcane industry has not grown in a market-driven               Rs 672 crore as return on equity from sugar cooperatives;
environment. It has grown through heavy subsidies and             it actually received less than a tenth of that amount. Total
short-term political motivations.                                 loans taken by the sugar industry against government
                                                                  guarantees was over Rs 3,000 crore. It can be safely
Typically, promoters of so-called sugar cooperatives have         assumed that much of this money will eventually have to
contributed only 10% of the project cost; the rest has            be paid with interest through the state coffers.
been borne by the government, directly or through loan
guarantees. Little effort has been made to recover the            Public interest demands that the government does not go
government contribution. The government contribution              back on its commitments to stop pandering to the sugar
has been, in effect, an unofficial subsidy for ambitious          industry. The ‘industry’ has to be brought onto a proper
politicians — a sort of unregulated eating into public            industry footing — paying full cost for the water, power
money.                                                            and fertilisers it consumes. At the same time, a region-wise,
                                                                  phased plan for moving away from sugarcane cultivation
Unregulated eating causes sickness, and a majority of sugar       has to be chalked out. Of course, as the 2007 glut showed,
cooperatives in Maharashtra are sick; they have incurred          the market has a way of teaching hard lessons.
financial losses for several years and even their share capital
has eroded. It is not difficult to see why. The cooperatives      People without water
were not set up after any serious cost-benefit analysis.
The government’s generous unofficial subsidy encouraged           Every morning the entire population of a Pardhi tribal vasti
inefficiency. There was no incentive or compulsion to run a       (hamlet) of Shiradone village, Kalamb taluka, Osmanabad,
cooperative like a business.                                      starts a long trek for water. The vasti comprises 35 families
                                                                  that have occupied around 145 acres of government land
Sickness was perpetuated by government cash infusions.            since 2003.
The cycle of pandering to an excessively bloated and un-
competitive ‘industry’ continued till 2002-03, when the           Such occupation of public land, especially gairan or grazing

Every morning, the entire Pardhi hamlet of Shiradone starts a long trek for water
land, by dalits and other marginalised communities is             with access to drinking water.
common across Marathwada. An entire movement has
emerged to secure ownership rights for people who have            Government data on coverage of drinking water schemes
occupied gairan land. Responding to its demands, the              is thus suspect. There is a need to identify and permanently
government issued, in 1991, a resolution for regularisation       solve the drinking water problem faced in hamlets which,
of such occupation under certain conditions.                      for various reasons, do not enjoy year-round access to
                                                                  water even though public investment was made for this
However, the resolution has not been implemented fully.           purpose.
While existing occupiers live in a state of uncertainty, new
gairan land occupation continues.                                 In the case of settlements of gairan dharaks who do not
                                                                  legally possess the land they occupy, the government
The primary motives of gairan land occupiers (gairan              simply cannot continue to duck the issue of regularisation.
zamin dharaks) are establishing an independent source of          Further, there is need to arrive at a broad political
livelihood, and the desire to be able to live with dignity.       consensus, based on social and economic realities, which
These objectives have been frustrated by lack of legal            addresses continued new occupation of public land.
title to land. Lack of title prevents gairan dharaks from
making substantial investments in land; it prevents them          Sustainable dryland farming
from accessing institutional credit, and deprives them of
the benefit of many government schemes. Crucially, it             In June 2007, when sowing in the suicide-prone Yavatmal
also denies them access to water from government-funded           district of Maharashtra had just begun, Subhash Sharma
schemes.                                                          was standing and watching lush, healthy crops of pumpkin,
                                                                  chauli beans and tall, delicious looking corn growing on his
Shiradone is a large village with a bank, post office and         farm in Dorli village. The crops were sown in April — at a
police station. The village also enjoys drinking water            time when farmers in this water-scarce and scorching hot
facilities. However, these facilities do not cover the Pardhi     part of Vidarbha would not sow anything at all.
vasti situated four kilometres from the village. The vasti
has no source of drinking water. Every day the 35 Pardhi          Sharma is a farmer with a difference, who has gained
families steal water from a private well that is three            wisdom the hard way. In his early days as a farmer in the
kilometres from their habitation.                                 mid-1970s, his 32 acres of land yielded a record crop
                                                                  of 400 tonnes with the use of chemical fertilisers and
Even if the Pardhis do get legal title to land they have          pesticides. But 20 years later, he was struggling under huge
occupied, they may continue to be deprived of water.              debts as the yield shrank to 50 tonnes, his cultivation costs
Across Marathwada, marginalised communities are                   shot up, and his land grew more and more impoverished
routinely denied access to public wells within the                under the very same chemicals.
boundaries of the main village. The people have to make
do with whatever water facility is made available in their        “I was very close to snapping point in 1994, when I got to
settlement. When that facility fails, their problem is ignored.   hear about organic farming and decided to switch to it as a
At best, temporary solutions like supply of water by tanker       last-ditch effort,” says Sharma. And today, 13 years later, his
are provided. In some settlements like Shravasti Nagar            production has peaked to 450 tonnes on the same 32 acres
outside Wadti village in Nandura taluka of Buldhana, even         of land. He even leased-in an additional 35 acres of land
such solutions are not provided.                                  three years back.

Shravasti Nagar is a settlement of 45 dalit families that are     Sharma says he owes this dramatic turnaround to a deeper
owners of the land they occupy. They were earlier living in a     understanding of the dual nature of science. “The science
nearby village where their houses were close to a river that      of agriculture I was following earlier was a destructive
flooded frequently. In 1999, they decided to shift en masse.      science, which destroyed life and ecology for profit. The
They bought five acres of land near Wadti, and divided it         science I am following now is the science of creation,
amongst themselves — each family got three to five gunthas        which is in harmony with nature, and enriches nature even
of homestead, according to its capacity to pay. In 2000, the      while it takes what it needs.”
new settlement became a part of Wadti as a separate ward of
the gram panchayat. The panchayat agreed to part with some        As he says, the prolonged use of pesticides had killed the
funds for digging a well near the settlement. The well dries      soil fauna on his land, and erosion had drained the top soil.
up in summer. The people of Shravasti Nagar then have to          “The entire ecology of the farm — which involves trees,
steal water from a private well in a nearby field.                birds, soil fauna such as earthworms, ants and termites,
                                                                  along with crops — had been destroyed.” To reconstruct
While Wadti village itself enjoys piped drinking water,           this intricate system, Sharma began with work on water
no effort has been made to reduce the hardship suffered           management and use of natural fertilisers.
by people in Shravasti Nagar, despite several appeals to
authorities and the gram panchayat.                               Sharma’s land is in a hilly area, and both irrigation and
                                                                  soil quality were affected by the run-off of rain water. He
The case is not unique. It is generally seen that public          decided to conserve water by planting along contours. As a
expenditure for providing water to settlements outside            result, the rows of plants on his fields are often wavey. But
main villages is treated as a one-time investment. If that        plants in every row are at exactly the same height, and each
investment does not yield sufficient results, it is treated as    row serves as a miniature check-dam. When it rains, water
just sheer bad luck, and left at that. Meanwhile, settlements     collects in the shallow trenches between rows. Excess water
like Shravasti Nagar would be officially regarded as vastis       is channelised through small drains into irrigation ditches

                                                                  their roots, bring down temperatures, add biomass to land
                                                                  through their shed leaves, and finally also give you a profit
                                                                  in terms of the fruits, leaves, wood and whatever else you
                                                                  can harvest off them.”
                                                                  Unlike chemical inputs, natural processes do not perform
                                                                  just one task, Sharma points out. “A bird controls pests
                                                                  and provides manure. An earthworm enriches the soil by
                                                                  breaking down biomass, makes the land porous and helps
                                                                  in water conservation, and the slime off its body — known
                                                                  as ‘vermiwash’ — controls fungus in the soil. Termites and
                                                                  ants also help in breaking down different biomass, make
                                                                  the land porous, and attract birds that feed on them. And
                                                                  there may be so many other functions that these creatures
                                                                  perform without our knowing. By opting for chemical
                                                                  inputs, we destroy these systems, and finally destroy
                                                                  ourselves and our land.”
                                                                  Sharma rotates crops a lot, and the choice of crops keeps
                                                                  changing. In 2007, for instance, he planted a combination
                                                                  of corn and tur on one acre in alternation — something he
                                                                  has never done before. He does not plant even the same
                                                                  vegetables every year.
                                                                  The alternative approach used by Sharma has led to a rise
                                                                  in production and drop in input costs. In turn, this has
                                                                  enabled him to offer a good deal to his labour.
                                                                  Rather than pay on a daily basis, he offered wages on the
                                                                  basis of work done. The result, he says, was that work that
                                                                  used to take eight hours was completed in two-and-a-half
                                                                  hours. Labourers used the remaining hours to complete
                                                                  other work, and at the end of the day, earned three times
                                                                  the daily wage. Sharma himself got work done faster, and
                                                                  without having to employ additional labourers.
                                                                  Sharma employs 14 families on his land, on a permanent
Using sustainable agriculture practices, Subhash Sharma           basis. They receive wages amounting to around Rs 50,000
has earned handsome profits in Yavatmal                           per couple per year, and enjoy free housing, electricity
                                                                  and water. They also get vegetables from the farm all the
located at various points on the land. Sharma has dug one         year round, again for free. Apart from the families living
small irrigation ditch for every acre of his land.                on his land, Sharma uses a non-residential labour force of
                                                                  35 women and 14 men, who take home Rs 90-100 a day,
He explains: “First, the contour planting reduces run-off,        sometimes more. Nobody is talking about migrating.
and at the second stage, the run-off — both water and soil
— is collected in the irrigation ditch. So, not a single drop     On an average, Sharma’s cultivation cost for 32 acres of
of rain or a single grain of soil from the land is allowed to     land is Rs 9 lakh per year. Of this, a whopping Rs 7 lakh
drain away.” The result is that Sharma can grow three crops       goes for wages. But it is well worth it, as his turnover is
a year, while neighbouring farmers can grow just one.             Rs 17 lakh.

To replace chemical fertilisers and pesticides, Sharma            Sharma’s example, which has inspired hundreds of farmers
initially used biomass, cowdung and cow urine. After a            in Yavatmal, demonstrates how sustainable agricultural
while he started converting farm waste and cowdung on             practices can improve incomes, food security and living
the farmland directly. Soon, soil fauna like earthworms, ants     standards in dryland conditions. Essentially, it involves a
and termites were seen in the soil; the soil started getting      change in mindset. Remarks Sharma: “Farmers are too
softer, richer and more porous.                                   scared to even think for themselves.”
For pest control, Sharma decided to use birds. “Farmers           There is another roadblock: Most farmers have tiny
believe that birds are harmful for their crops, as they eat the   holdings. But the inevitable limit on production can be
crop,” says Sharma.“But the fact is that birds are valuable       tackled by encouraging group farming.
agents of pest control as they eat the pests and their larvae.
And their droppings also enrich the soil.”                        Undoubtedly, these are ideas that will not find ready
                                                                  acceptance. But in a land where the majority of the
To attract birds, Sharma started planting different kinds of      population is poor and directly or indirectly dependent
fruit trees on the land. “Farmers today fell standing trees       on rainfed agriculture for survival — and will most likely
on their lands because crops don’t grow under trees, but          be in this situation for generations to come — there is no
they miss the point that trees attract birds, hold water in       other alternative.

Gairan dharaks struggle to make a living on poor quality soil, without access to water or credit

. Maharashtra’s water policy framework: A critical overview
This section discusses Maharashtra’s laws and policies            legislative powers over water rest with the states. Water-
related to water ownership and use. This framework has            related legislations of Maharashtra are listed in the box.
to be understood against the background of the water
crisis in the state, discussed in Section 1, and constitutional   Water-related laws of Maharashtra
provisions, laws and policies at the national level. Some         • Maharashtra Fisheries Act, 1960
comparisons have also been made with laws and policies in         • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
other states and countries. The discussion is divided into        • Maharashtra Irrigation Act, 1976
five parts:                                                       • Maharashtra Kharland Improvement Act, 1979

• Part I discusses water law and water rights in India.           • Maharashtra Groundwater (Regulation for Drinking Water
                                                                    Purposes) Act, 1993
• Part II discusses the issue of State responsibility for
                                                                  • Krishna Valley Development Corporation Act, 1996
providing water.
                                                                  • Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation Act, 1996
• Part III discusses legal provisions in Maharashtra for
regulation of groundwater use.                                    • Tapi Irrigation Development Corporation Act, 1997
• Part IV discusses the national and Maharashtra water            • Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation Act, 1997
policy documents, and recent legislations emerging from           • Godavari Marathwada Irrigation Development Act, 1998
the latter.                                                       • Maharashtra Project Affected Persons Rehabilitation Act, 2001
• Part V sums up the discussion.                                  • Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act, 2005
                                                                  • Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by
Water law                                                           Farmers Act, 2005

India does not have an exclusive and comprehensive water          Water ownership
law. Water-related legal provisions are dispersed across
                                                                  India does not have any specific law defining ownership
various irrigation Acts, central and state laws, constitutional
                                                                  and rights over all water sources. The rights are derived
provisions and court decisions.
                                                                  from several legislations and customary beliefs.
Constitutional provisions
                                                                  Rights over surface water
According to the state list under the Seventh Schedule
                                                                  Rights over water in rivers and lakes are defined by land
of the Constitution, states have jurisdiction over water
                                                                  and state irrigation Acts. Formulated first in colonial times,
resources within their borders. The powers of the states are      these Acts explicitly state that the government has absolute
subject to:                                                       right over this water. For instance, the Northern India
• The Union list under the Seventh Schedule of the                Canal and Drainage Act, 1873, stated that the government
Constitution that allows the central government to regulate       has the right to “use and control for public purposes the
and develop inter-state rivers and river valleys when             water of all rivers and streams flowing in natural channels,
declared by Parliament as a matter of public interest.            and of all lakes”.
• The central government’s regulatory role in inter-state         Irrigation Acts or their rules specify who can use canal
water projects under Article 252.                                 water, and for what purpose. Only use rights — and not
• The Environment (Protection) Act, 1996, and                     ownership rights — are granted. Typically, use rights are
notifications issued under it by the Union Ministry of            granted only to those people who have land in command
Environment and Forests, which require states to get              areas. However, in Maharashtra, lift irrigation schemes
central clearance for major water projects.                       have been permitted to take water to lands outside the
• The central government’s role in resolving inter-state          command areas. Further, a new law (discussed later in this
water disputes as per the provisions under Article 262.           section) allows ‘bulk’ users, such as water users associations,
Under this Article, Parliament enacted the Inter-State            to sell the water allotted to them. But such sale will be
Water Disputes Act of 1956, and a number of tribunals             regulated by the authority that grants the bulk allotment in
have been set up to resolve water disputes among the states       the first instance.
under this Act.
                                                                  Rights over groundwater
The central government can also acquire legislative
powers on water when two or more states desiring to have          Several court judgments in post-Independent India have
uniform water legislation request the Union government,           affirmed that all natural resources — resources that are by
with the approval of their respective assemblies, to provide      nature meant for public use and enjoyment — are held
such legislation.                                                 by the State in public trust. For instance, in M C Mehta v
                                                                  Kamal Nath (1997), the Supreme Court declared that “the
Subject to the above limitations, and limitations enforced        State is the trustee of all natural resources”; as a trustee, the
by central administrative, policy and financial decisions,        State has “a legal duty to protect the natural resources” and

“these resources meant for public use cannot be converted              Central Ground Water Authority
into private ownership”.
                                                                       • The Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), constituted
                                                                       under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, has been
However, the legal position on whether groundwater is                  conferred with the power to regulate and control, manage
a resource meant for public use is fuzzy and India has no              and develop groundwater in the country. But the Authority’s
law that explicitly defines groundwater ownership. (Orissa             actual power is largely limited to the study of groundwater
                                                                       situations in all parts of the country, and issuance of
did amend its irrigation Act to assert State right over                regulatory directions.
groundwater, but this has been challenged in court.)
                                                                       • The CGWA is regulating withdrawal of groundwater by
Some grounds for determining groundwater rights                        industries/projects in 839 ‘overexploited’ and 226 ‘critical
                                                                       assessment units’ in the country. A list of these critical
are provided by the Indian Easement Act of 1882. An                    areas has been circulated to the state pollution control
‘easement’ is a right that the owner or occupier of certain            boards and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
land possesses, for beneficial enjoyment of that land.                 Applications to obtain permission for setting up new
                                                                       industries/projects in these areas are referred to the CGWA.
Examples of easements are right of way, right to light and
air, and right to standing or flowing water not on one’s               • CGWA has notified 43 critical/overexploited areas in
                                                                       parts of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan,
land.                                                                  Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and
                                                                       Diu. For enforcement of the regulatory measures in these
Section 7 (g) of the Indian Easement Act states that every             areas, deputy commissioners/district magistrates have
landowner has the right to “collect and dispose” of all                been issued directions. Accordingly, construction of new
                                                                       groundwater structures is prohibited in the notified areas,
water under the land within his own limits, and all water              except in case of government agencies drilling wells for
on its surface that does not pass in a defined channel.                supplying drinking water.
Hence, by this Act, the owner of a piece of land does not              • CGWA has also notified 65 areas in the states of Andhra
strictly speaking “own” groundwater under the land or                  Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu,
surface water on the land; he only has the right to use the            Pondicherry, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi
                                                                       and Uttar Pradesh, which warrant “urgent action” in terms
water.                                                                 of registration of existing groundwater extraction structures.

However, it is customarily accepted across India that a
well on a piece of land belongs to the owner of that land,
and others have no right to extract water from the well               emphasised by a Supreme Court order that directed the
or restrict the landowner’s rights to extract water. This             Centre to set up a groundwater authority. Accordingly, the
customary belief and practice is indirectly supported by              Central Ground Water Authority was set up in 1986 (see
various laws such as land Acts and irrigation Acts, which list        box).
all things on which the government has a right. These Acts
do not mention groundwater.                                           ‘Right to water’

Interpretations of the Transfer of Property Act of 1882 and           The Constitution guarantees every citizen fundamental
the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 also support the position            rights to equality, life and personal liberty. Article 15 (2)
                                                                      of the Constitution further states that no citizen shall be
that a landowner has proprietary rights to groundwater; it
                                                                      subjected to any restriction with regard to “the use of wells,
is connected to the ‘dominant heritage’ (land) and cannot             tanks, bathing ghats”.Various courts have upheld that the
be transferred apart from the land.                                   right to clean and safe water is an aspect of the right to
                                                                      life. For instance, in Narmada Bachao Andolan v Union of
But the right to property in India is not absolute. It is
                                                                      India (2000), the Supreme Court said: “Water is the basic
not a fundamental right and government has the power
                                                                      need for the survival of human beings and is part of right
to restrict it in the interests of the larger public good.
                                                                      of life and human rights as enshrined in Article 21 of the
Thus, the government enjoys the right to take over
                                                                      Constitution of India.”
anybody’s land to construct dams, build roads, etc. While
the government has to follow due process and pay due                  But judgments do not constitute law or policy. At best,
compensation (failure to do so can be challenged), its right          they provide directions for the formulation of laws and
to acquire the property itself is unchallengeable.                    policies. However, as yet, no laws or policies have been
Further, the government is duty-bound by the directive                formulated asserting that water is a fundamental and
principles of the Constitution to work towards social, political      inviolable right enjoyed by every citizen. Hence, the ‘right
and economic justice and equity and protection of the                 to water’ can be obtained in India only on a case-by-case
environment. For instance, Article 39 (b) lays down that “the         basis, by going to court.
State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing that
the ownership and control of the material resources of the
community are so distributed as best to subserve the common
                                                                      Responsibility for providing water
good”, and Article 51-A (g) says it is the fundamental                There is no legislation in India that says governments have
duty of every citizen “to protect and improve the natural
                                                                      to provide water to citizens. However, as noted earlier,
environment including forests, lakes, rivers…”.
                                                                      courts have ruled that the right to water is a part of the
Hence, the government has the right as well as the duty               constitutional guarantee of right to life. It has also been
to regulate use of groundwater in the interests of justice,           implicitly accepted since Independence that the central and
equity and environmental protection. This duty was                    state governments have a primary responsibility to provide

water for drinking purposes, and subsequently for other            are not entrusted to ZPs.
purposes. Provisions for supplying drinking water have
been made in all Five-Year Plans and the responsibility was        ZPs have been entrusted with the task of maintaining
made explicit in the Twenty-Point Programme, drafted in            irrigation projects with command areas of less than
1975 and modified in 1982 and 1986.                                250 hectares, under the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads
                                                                   and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961. ZPs are also responsible
Accordingly, a host of programmes have been framed and             for rural water supply schemes. Under Section 79 A
implemented at the central and state levels, such as the           of the 1961 Zilla Parishads Act, every ZP has to set up
Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme and the Rajiv             a water conservation and drinking water supply
Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission. A gamut of laws            committee. The committee must include one or two
has also been drafted, including:                                  people with “special knowledge or experience in
                                                                   the subject of water conservation and drinking water
• Laws establishing water boards for urban water supply.           supply”. These associate members of the committee do
• Laws enacted for water supply in metropolitan cities.            not enjoy voting rights. The committee can exercise
• Laws for water supply in the state as a whole.                   powers related to the subject as allotted to it under
• Laws on regulation of groundwater extraction and use.            the provisions of the Act.
• Laws on protection of water sources.
• Laws for supply of water to specific industrial areas.           The chief executive officer of the ZP has the power to:

Elaborate institutional mechanisms have been set up to             • Order the owner of any water supply source, such as a
provide water. The mechanism in Maharashtra is briefly             well or tank, to keep it clean and in good repair (Section
discussed in the box.                                              192).
                                                                   • Set apart public springs, tanks, wells and parts of public
Responsibilities of PRIs                                           water courses for drinking purposes, for bathing or for
                                                                   washing clothes and animals (Section 194).
  Supply of water: Institutional mechanism in Maharashtra          • Prohibit the use of water from any source to which the
                                                                   public has access (Section 194).
  Maharashtra’s surface water resources are managed by the
  irrigation department, which allocates water for different
  uses: irrigation, drinking water and sanitation, and industry.
  When non-irrigation usage (for example, domestic use)            Regulation of groundwater use
  of a particular surface resource exceeds 15% of the water
  available, the allocation is done by a committee headed by       Groundwater is the main source of water across India, for
  the chief minister. The following institutions are involved
  in the supply of water:                                          all purposes. Around 80-90% of rural drinking water needs
                                                                   are met by groundwater, and groundwater serves around
  • Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran formulates and executes         half of India’s net irrigated area.
  schemes in rural and urban areas.

  • Groundwater Directorate Survey and Development                 Groundwater extraction has risen exponentially since the
  Agency implements schemes based on groundwater                   1950s due to various reasons such as the introduction of
  resources in rural and semi-urban areas.                         Green Revolution technologies, increased cultivation of
  • Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation                 cash crops, and electricity subsidies for irrigation pumpsets.
  supplies water to its industrial estates and a few industrial    Extraction exceeds natural recharge in many parts of the
  townships.                                                       country.
  • Zilla Parishads (ZPs) are responsible for rural water
  supply schemes.                                                  In response to an emerging crisis that threatens the life
                                                                   and livelihoods of millions, the Centre, in 1970, framed
  • Urban local bodies such as municipal corporations are          a Model Groundwater (Control and Regulation) Bill for
  responsible for the provision of drinking water in cities.
                                                                   adoption by the states.

                                                                   Revised in 1972, 1996 and 2005, the Bill provides the
                                                                   framework to regulate use of groundwater in India. Some
Under the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments, states          states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have
may transfer powers and responsibilities to Panchayati             passed legislation based on this model Bill.
Raj Institutions (PRIs) with regard to minor irrigation,
watershed development (panchayats) and water supply                Maharashtra groundwater regulation Act
for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes
                                                                   The Maharashtra Groundwater (Regulation for Drinking
(municipalities). Devolution of powers to panchayats has
                                                                   Water Purposes) Act, 1993, is aimed at regulating the
generally not occurred. Devolution of drinking water-
                                                                   exploitation of groundwater for protection of public
related powers and responsibilities to ZPs has, however,           drinking water sources. The Act does not regulate use of
taken place. In Maharashtra, the Maharashtra Village               ndwater for purposes of meeting irrigation needs.
Panchayat Act, 1938, inter alia lists the duty of gram
panchayats to maintain minor irrigation works with a               The Act provides three regulations. The first relates to any
cultivable command area of less than 100 hectares, which           kind of well in any area. The second and third kind of

regulations apply only to areas declared to be hit by ‘water     standing at the time permanent closure was ordered.
scarcity’ or areas declared as ‘overexploited watersheds’.
                                                                 Implementation of the Act
The regulations can be imposed by an ‘appropriate
authority’, which is the collector of the district, or any       Implementation of the Act has been very weak, and
other officer appointed for this purpose. Any aggrieved          in many areas, non-existent, for many reasons. Firstly,
person can appeal against regulations imposed by the             district collectors do not know the locations of all wells
                                                                 in all villages; they cannot even effectively ask for such
authority, within 30 days of receipt of such an order. The
                                                                 information from villages. In 2003, in Latur district, where
decision of the appellate authority (district collector or
                                                                 there are reportedly over 50 overexploited watersheds, the
divisional commissioner) is final and cannot be challenged
                                                                 district collector asked all gram panchayats to give details
in any court. Anyone who contravenes any order issued
                                                                 of borewells within a kilometre of a public water source.
under the Act is liable to imprisonment of one to six
                                                                 Not a single gram panchayat responded and the collector
months and/or a fine of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.
                                                                 could do nothing but fret about the uselessness of the
Restriction on wells in any area                                 law (‘Latur’s struggle for water’ by Atul Deulgaonkar in
                                                                 Frontline, May 24-June 6, 2003).
In any area of the state, no person can sink any well for
any purpose within a distance of 500 metres from a public        Even if the collector receives a complaint from an
drinking water source (Section 3 [1]). Any kind of well can      individual or group of individuals on borewells near public
be dug by any person within this distance only with the          water sources, he cannot take action. The rules framed
express permission of the collector.                             under the Act specify that the collector can take action
                                                                 only after a complaint has been submitted in writing by
This restriction does not apply to wells sunk by                 the gram panchayat of a village, and subsequently verified
government or local authorities to meet drinking water           by a GSDA geologist. As gram panchayats are generally
needs.                                                           controlled by elected representatives, they are unlikely
                                                                 to initiate action against the powerful interests that own
Restrictions on wells in ‘water scarcity areas’                  private borewells.
On the advice of a geologist of the Groundwater                  Thirdly, the Act has been a miserable failure because there
Directorate of Survey and Development Agency (GSDA),             is little awareness about its provisions, especially its rules
a collector can declare any area a ‘water scarcity area’ for     regarding mode of making complaints. In any case, as noted
a maximum period of one year at a time. When an area is          earlier, there is a widespread belief that a landowner ‘owns’
so declared, the collector can restrict or prohibit the use of   the groundwater extractable from his land.
any well within a distance of one kilometre from a public
drinking water source, if the well is not used as a source of    Critique
drinking water (Section 5 [1]).                                  Even if the Maharashtra Groundwater (Regulation for
It is likely that there will be more than one such well          Drinking Water Purposes) Act were to be implemented
within a radius of one kilometre. In that case, a restriction    vigorously, it would not check overexploitation of
or prohibition can be imposed on a well used to irrigate a       groundwater because that is not its aim. As its name
                                                                 suggests, the Act is primarily aimed at ensuring that
standing crop only as a last priority.
                                                                 access to drinking water is not affected by groundwater
Restrictions on wells in overexploited watersheds                exploitation. As such, the Act is silent on:

On the advice of a geologist of the GSDA, a collector            • Overexploitation of groundwater 500 metres beyond
can declare any area an ‘overexploited watershed’. No            public drinking water sources.
person can sink any kind of well for any purpose in an           • Competitive sinking of borewells among farmers.
overexploited watershed without the express permission           • Overexploitation of groundwater by rich farmers,
of the collector (Section 7 [1]). This restriction does not      affecting groundwater sources of neighbouring farmers.
apply to the sinking of a well by the government or local
                                                                 There is some scope for checking these practices if an
authority to meet drinking water needs.                          area is declared a ‘water scarcity area’ or ‘overexploited
Further, on the advice of a geologist of the GSDA, a             watershed’. However, such declarations are rarely, if ever,
collector can prohibit use of any existing well in an            made — the people most likely to be hit are politically
overexploited watershed for a period of six months,              powerful cash crop-growing farmers such as sugarcane
February 1 to July 31. Before issuing such an order, the         cultivators.
collector has to give the owner of the well a reasonable         There is a process for declaring an area hit by water scarcity
opportunity to present his view.                                 that can be easily shortcircuited. According to the rules of
                                                                 the Act, the process has to begin in September of a year,
The collector can even order permanent closure of a well         when the groundwater position has to be assessed, and total
in an overexploited area. In this case, the owner of the         rainfall that year has to be noted. A list of villages likely
well would be compensated for the well as well as crops          to be hit by water scarcity has to be made and notified by

January. The list can be manipulated and the notification       government obviously has to play a role, but that role is
can be delayed. The list in any case is applicable only for a   providing an enabling legal and policy framework. The
year; the next year, the process has to be repeated.            example of the state of Nebraska in the United States of
                                                                America (see box) shows how this can work.
Generally, one can note that even under the best of
circumstances, the Act can work only as a last-ditch            Requisition of drinking water supply sources
remedial measure. It comes into force after overexploitation
                                                                According to the Maharashtra Drinking Water Supply
of groundwater has taken place; it does nothing to prevent      Source Requisition Act, 1983, the district collector can
such overexploitation in the first instance.                    requisition any well in an area hit by scarcity of drinking
                                                                water, to enable extraction of water to meet the area’s
These weaknesses were sought to be plugged by a revised         drinking water needs. The owner of the well would be paid
version of the Act, the Maharashtra Groundwater Control         for the water extracted, according to certain norms. This
and Regulation of Development and Management Bill,              Act is used extensively to supply water by tankers.
2000. As suggested by a revised version of the central
model Bill, the Maharashtra Bill proposes:
                                                                Water policy
• Compulsory registration of owners of borewells.
• Compulsory permission for sinking a new borewell.             Following a severe drought across the country in 1987, the
• Creation of a groundwater regulatory body.                    Centre framed a National Water Policy (NWP) that laid
• Restrictions on depth of borewells.                           down certain principles, listed in the box. Specifically, the
• Establishment of protection zones around sources of           NWP recommended the promotion of:
drinking water.                                                 • Conjunctive use of water from surface and sub-surface
The Bill mandates:                                              sources.
                                                                • Supplemental irrigation.
• Periodic reassessment of groundwater potential on a           • Water-conserving crop patterns.
scientific basis, considering quality of water available and    • Water-conserving irrigation and production technologies.
economic viability.
                                                                Other important recommendations included:
• Regulation of exploitation of groundwater sources so
that it does not exceed recharge.                               • Raising canal water charges.
• Development of groundwater projects to augment                • Promoting user participation in canal management.
• Integrated and coordinated development of surface water       Though the policy recognised the need to limit individual
and groundwater so that they are used in conjunction.           and collective water withdrawals, it did not identify the
• Prevention of overexploitation of groundwater near the        institutional mechanisms needed to define and enforce
coast to prevent the ingress of seawater.                       such limits.

These mandates, which have yet to become law, do                The 1987 NWP was modified in 2002. Major policy
sound good on paper. However, there is a basic flaw:            additions included recognition of the role of private sector
Implementation is entirely in the hands of government           participation and the need to shift from development of
authorities; people who use groundwater have no role            new projects to performance improvements in existing
in decision-making or implementation. This runs against
customary beliefs regarding ownership of groundwater,           Several states, including Maharashtra, came out with their
discussed earlier, and the experience of groundwater            own water policy statements along the lines of the NWP.
regulation anywhere in India and the rest of the world.
All the experience so far clearly shows that groundwater        Maharashtra Water Policy 2003 (MWP)
use cannot be controlled solely by government; it can be
controlled only with the close involvement of all primary       At the outset, the MWP acknowledges that the
stakeholders — those who use groundwater excessively, as        economical, equitable and sustainable use of water
well as those who suffer because of that use.                   resources has become a matter of “utmost urgency” in the
                                                                state. However, it does not advocate any fundamentally and
In Israel, for instance, control over use of water has worked   radically new policy framework vis-à-vis rights or use of
effectively because this is almost a matter of faith among      water. It does not even touch upon several basic demands
the people — anyone who abuses water resources would            raised persistently by independent water experts and CSOs
be considered ‘anti-national’. Likewise, experiences from       over the past several years (see, for instance, box on ‘People’s
India, such as the water conservation movement initiated
                                                                Right to Water in Maharashtra: A Manifesto’). The MWP
in Saurashtra by Pandurang Shastri Athavale after the
1985-87 drought, the movement initiated in Alwar district,      limits itself to issues such as:
Rajasthan, by Rajendra Singh, as well several ‘models’          • Creating incentives for water users to use water more
developed in Maharashtra (eg, Ralegan Siddhi) show that
regulation by the people themselves can and does work.
                                                                • Creating water users’ associations with powers to manage,
If regulation by people has to cover the entire state,          operate and maintain their water distribution facilities.

     Legal framework for groundwater regulation with                      • Granting water users’ associations predictable entitlements
     stakeholder participation                                            to water.
     The western US state of Nebraska is heavily dependent                • Creating state and river basin levels as new institutional
     on groundwater. Around 90% of the total water extracted              arrangements to guide and regulate water resources
     is used for irrigation. Due to unregulated exploitation,
     decline in water levels of up to 50 feet had been reported.
     Recognising the threat to prosperity and quality of life, the
     Nebraska state legislature created a framework to manage             As immediate priority areas, the MWP lists:
     the groundwater resource, in 1972. This framework enabled
     the establishment of Natural Resource Districts (NRDs).              • An Act to authorise farmers’ management of irrigation
     The boundaries of these districts are based on approximate           systems.
     hydrological boundaries of the recognised river basins; 24
     NRDs have been so formed in the state.
                                                                          • Creating a state water authority and five river basin
                                                                          authorities, which will together manage the water resources
     Each NRD has a board of directors and by an Act of 1975,             of the entire state (the five such major river basins are
     each board is empowered to regulate on problems of
     groundwater depletion, contamination and user conflicts              the Konkan basin west of the Sahyadris and the Krishna,
     according to certain rules and regulations. Boards have              Godavari, Tapi and Narmada basins in the rest of the state).
     authority to alter these rules after taking the approval of
     the state department of water resources.                             The MWP encourages “full” participation of the private
     Each board is elected by all eligible voters of the district.        sector in preparing river basin plans and management of
     Each NRD is divided into sub-districts. One board                    basin water resources.
     member is elected from each sub-district and one member
     at large is elected. The board of directors is assisted by a         On issues such as drought management and watershed
     full-time professional management that runs day-to-day
     functions. Property tax is the chief source of revenue for
                                                                          development, which are obviously of “utmost urgency”,
     the board.                                                           the MWP has nothing new to say. It only states vague
     Each board has a forum to hear user complaints,
                                                                          generalisations such as:
     grievances and suggestions. An aggrieved person can
     appeal for a review of the board’s decision. If he is not            • “Drought-prone areas will be made less vulnerable…
     satisfied with the decision, he can go to court. Records of          through soil-moisture conservation measures, water
     boards are open to the public.                                       harvesting practices, minimisation of evaporation losses,
                                                                          development of the groundwater potential…”
     The following kinds of regulations are imposed by NRD                • “Integrated watershed development programmes shall be
     boards:                                                              encouraged…”
     • All wells with pumping capacity over a specified limit can
     be operated only after obtaining a permit, a meter and a             The one fundamentally new idea in the MWP, which is
     groundwater allocation.                                              derived from the NWP and reflects World Bank thinking,
     • All new and existing wells with more than a specified
     capacity and used for the purpose of irrigation,                       National Water Policy: Key principles
     commercial livestock, and municipal and industrial uses
     have to have an approved flow meter. Annual water use                  • Water is a precious national resource and its development
     of each well user is reported to the NRD, which then also              should be governed by national perspectives.
     comes to know the actual total volume of water extracted
     in the district.                                                       • The available resources of both surface and groundwater
                                                                            should be utilised to the maximum extent.
     • Groundwater allocations are made on the basis of area of
     irrigated land, for a specified period. Groundwater users              • Appropriate organisations should be established for
     extracting less than their allocation can carry it forward to          planned development and management of river basins.
     the subsequent allocation period.                                      • Water should be made available to areas where there is a
     • Pooling of groundwater allocation across farms is allowed            shortage by transfer from other areas including transfers
     on condition that the overall allocation is not exceeded.              from one river basin to another, after taking into account
                                                                            the requirements of the basins.
     • Transfer of allocated groundwater from one farm to
     another is allowed.                                                    • In the allocation of water, ordinarily, first priority should
                                                                            be for drinking water, with irrigation, hydro/power,
     • Users are allowed to apply as much water as they want to             industrial and other uses following in that order.
     different crops as long as they do not exceed their annual
     allocation.                                                            • Groundwater potential should be periodically re-assessed
                                                                            and its exploitation regulated with reference to recharge
     • If the average groundwater level decline exceeds a                   possibilities and considerations of social equity.
     specified limit, an area is designated critical. Drilling of
     new or supplemental irrigation wells is prohibited in                  • Maintenance, modernisation and safety of structures
     critical areas.                                                        should be ensured through proper organisational
     • Wells have to be at a minimum distance from each other.
     The minimum distance specified by boards varies from 600               • There should be close integration of water use and land
     to over 5,000 feet.                                                    use policies, and distribution of water should be with due
                                                                            regard to equity and social justice.
     One NRD board studied by the authors mentioned below
     had 3,200 registered irrigation wells, irrigating around               • Water rates should be such as to motivate economy of
     430,000 acres.                                                         use, and should cover maintenance and operational charges
                                                                            and a part of the fixed costs.
     Adapted from ‘A Comparative Study of Groundwater Institutions in
     the Western United States and Peninsular India for Sustainable and     • Farmers should be progressively involved in the
     Equitable Resource Use’ by N Nagaraj,W Marshall Frasier and R          management of irrigation systems.
     K Sampath of Colorado State University, viewed in http://dlc.dlib.     • Needs of drought-prone areas should be given priority                                          in the planning of projects for development of water

is the idea of water ‘entitlements’, discussed below.          • Facilitate and ensure judicious, equitable, sustainable
                                                               management, allocation and utilisation of water resources.
Water ‘entitlements’                                           • Fix rates for use of water for agriculture, industrial,
The basic premise of the concept is that there is              drinking and other purposes.
“considerable economic and social value” in “entitlement”
                                                               Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority
to water. The MWP recommends that transfer of water
entitlements should be permitted on an annual or seasonal      To meet the above objectives, the Act establishes, under
basis for “fair compensation”. In simple language, this        Section 3, a Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory
means that people who are “entitled” to water can sell         Authority. The Authority, based in Mumbai, comprises
their water — for instance a jowar-growing farmer should       a chairperson and two other members to be appointed
be allowed to sell his water “entitlement” to a sugarcane-     on the recommendations of a selection committee
growing farmer.
                                                               comprising entirely of bureaucrats. The chairperson has to
                                                               be a bureaucrat of the rank of chief secretary. One of the
The use of the term ‘entitlement’ is misleading. In plain
                                                               two members has to be an expert in the field of “water
English, an entitlement is a right. As noted earlier, in
                                                               resources engineering”, while the other has to be an expert
India, there is no enforceable right to water for farmers or
                                                               in “water resources economy”.
other water users. Hence, the MWP, like the NWP, talks
of trade in water entitlements in the absence of any such      Apart from these three persons, the Authority should
entitlement! The MWP further contradicts the meaning           have five “special invitees” from each of the five major
of ‘entitlement’ by recommending that criteria as well as      river basins of the state (see discussion on MWP earlier).
quotas for trading water entitlements would be determined
                                                               The special invitees should have “adequate knowledge,
by the state water authority. If exercise of a right depends
                                                               experience or proved capacity in dealing with the
primarily on the will of a third party, how can it be called
                                                               problems relating to engineering, agricultural, drinking
a right?
                                                               water, industry, law, economics, commerce, finance or
Implementation                                                 management”. Their role is to assist the Authority in taking
                                                               policy decisions. However, they have no decision-making
Implementation of the MWP has started with enactment           powers. These powers vest entirely with the chairperson
and partial implementation of the following legislations:      and two other members. In case of a dispute among
                                                               themselves, the issue will be decided by a majority of votes
• Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act,
                                                               of the members present. Presumably, one member can take
                                                               a decision if the other two are absent.
• Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by
Farmers Act, 2005.                                             Functions of the Authority
Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority               The three members have been vested with enormous
Act, 2005 (MWRRAA)                                             powers. Under Sections 11, 12 and 22 of the MWRRAA,
The MWRRAA is a direct outcome of the MWP                      the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority
discussed above. The Bill was introduced in the Nagpur         has to:
session of the state assembly in 2004, where it was severely   • Determine and enforce distribution of water entitlement
criticised by some sections of the Opposition. Subsequently,
                                                               for various categories of use, such as domestic, agricultural,
the Bill was referred to a joint committee of both houses
                                                               agro-based industrial, industrial or commercial use.
of the assembly. The revised version of the Bill was pushed
                                                               • Determine and enforce equitable distribution of
through a voice vote on April 16, 2005, on the last day of
                                                               entitlement within each category of use.
that assembly session. On that same day around 15 other
Bills were introduced. The Water Resources Regulatory          • Determine priority of equitable distribution of water
Authority Bill was introduced at around 6 pm and passed        during periods of scarcity.
without even a reading, let alone a debate (P Sainath,         • Establish a water tariff system such that water charges
‘Water: How the deal was done’, The Hindu, April 28,           reflect the “full recovery of the cost” of the management,
2005).                                                         operation and maintenance of a water resource project.
                                                               • Review and approve water resource projects proposed at
The salient features of the Act passed in such circumstances   the river basin and sub-basin level, such that they ensure
are as follows:                                                development as per an Integrated State Water Plan to be
                                                               prepared by a State Water Board and approved by a State
                                                               Water Council (discussed below).
The objective of the MWRRAA is to establish an                 • Facilitate the preservation and protection of water quality.
institutional framework to:                                    • Promote sound water conservation practices.

• Regulate water resources within the state.                   The Authority also has responsibility with regard to districts

                                                   People’s right to water in Maharashtra: A manifesto

     The ‘manifesto for people’s right to water in Maharashtra’ was an            (balutedars), nomadic tribals and other powerless minorities — shall
     outcome of a convention of non-governmental organisations organised          have full rights of representation in these committees, for adequate
     by the National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS) and Action for            protection of their rights.
     Agricultural Renewal in Maharashtra (AFARM) in Pune on August
                                                                                  The watershed committee shall be empowered to make representation
     29, 2004. Around 200 activists working in drought-hit parts of the state
                                                                                  before the water regulatory commission in case of conflicts related to
     helped frame this document to secure the right to water. The first part
                                                                                  water. For this purpose, it will be necessary to establish five regional
     of the manifesto, ‘Constructive Assertion’, states:
                                                                                  sub-commissions so that geographical access to the regulatory
     1. Equality in the right to water                                            authority is rendered easier. The watershed committee and their
                                                                                  jurisdictions shall be determined on the basis of the aforementioned
     Equality in the right to water is the central assertion of people and is
                                                                                  map showing 1,505 watersheds covering Maharashtra. Authority to
     non-negotiable. All classes of working people — landless, marginal and
                                                                                  regulate water allocations and use in a watershed shall be contingent
     small peasants, artisans (balutedars), other working sections, women,
                                                                                  upon the completion of the watershed development work in a
     adivasis and nomadic tribals as well as their animals shall be guaranteed,
     as a matter of right, their due share of water, to be determined in an
     egalitarian manner. They have as much of a right to water as landlords,      Preservation of water quality and conservation of water shall also be
     large farmers and politically well-connected VIPs. There shall be no         within the powers/responsibilities of the watershed committees.
     relation between ownership of land and the right to share of water,
                                                                                  7. Remove discrimination within urban water supply
     both because water is a dynamic resource and because it is made
     available from public investments.                                           There is discrimination against the urban poor in terms of water
                                                                                  supply to slums. While they receive inadequate water supply of
     2. Drought-free Maharashtra
                                                                                  dubious quality through tankers, the urban rich have abundant supplies
     In each of the regions of Maharashtra, 10 lakh hectares of watershed         and never feel the effects of drought. The affairs of municipalities and
     areas shall be taken up for immediate implementation, to be completed        municipal corporations are in such a mess that there are no maps
     in five years. Every five years a further target of 50 lakh hectares shall   indicating the layout of water supply pipelines. It is then impossible
     be completed such that in 15 years a total of 150 lakh hectares is           to investigate within a ward or slum settlement: where the pipeline is
     completed all over Maharashtra. This will render Maharashtra immune          located, the diameter of the pipeline and its water-carrying capacity,
     to the ravages of drought in future. The identification of watersheds        the number of authorised and unauthorised connections, and the
     shall be done on the basis of the government of Maharashtra map              identities of the beneficiaries involved. Pipeline layout maps shall be
     showing 1,505 watersheds covering all of Maharashtra; and watershed          made available to the citizens by the municipal bodies on their website
     development along with soil moisture conservation programmes shall           within three months and citizens shall have the right to receive copies
     be immediately undertaken. At a treatment rate of Rs 10,000 per              of all such maps and relevant documents.
     hectare, the total cost equals Rs 1,000 crore per year (Rs 200 crore per
                                                                                  8. Transparency in information related to water, land and
     region per year), which is well within the financial means of the state
                                                                                  forests: right to information for rural areas
     of Maharashtra. Funds are largely available from the EGS sources.
                                                                                  All information related to their watershed shall be made available for
     3. Tanker-free Maharashtra
                                                                                  the rural areas as a matter of right. This information shall be displayed
     This programme shall be given utmost priority so that drought                by all concerned departments on the website of the Maharashtra
     ravaged villages are freed from the triple burden of tankers, political      government within six months. This information shall include
     exploitation and corruption.                                                 watershed-level data related to water, land and forest categories,
                                                                                  displayed in a transparent manner, provided as a matter of right to
     4. Community control over community water sources
                                                                                  information and obtainable at every district level.
     Every village and settlement (vasti) has had traditional talavs,
                                                                                  9. Regional water balances to be preserved through sustainable
     tanks, springs, malguzari tanks, ponds, lakes, wells and other
     community water sources; these shall be immediately rejuvenated
     so that any resident of the village can slake her thirst at any time.        The Sahyadri and Satpura mountain ranges serve as the catchments
     Village handpumps should be included in this category. The                   for all the rivers of Maharashtra and contribute to massive recharge
     responsibility for immediate maintenance lies with the administration.       of aquifers in downstream regions and to base flows of rivers. The
     It is also the legal responsibility of the administration to ensure that     current patterns of development of these mountain eco-regions
     no dalit, adivasi or minority is denied access to a community water          are unbalanced, blind and unsustainable. This will lead to greater
     source or distribution system. Any discrimination in this regard with        water stresses all over Maharashtra in the future. The government of
     respect to the right to water of these sections or their animals shall be    Maharashtra will now have to change its developmental priorities and
     considered a violation of human rights and strict legal action shall         approaches else the visible shape of the forthcoming future will be
     be immediately taken.                                                        much more troubled.
     5. Stop new constructions of large dams and large-scale                      10. Women and marginalised groups are being excluded
                                                                                  For equitable water distribution, women have to be included in all
     All new constructions of large dams/canals and large projects shall          water-related decision-making processes with 50% representation
     be stopped immediately. Those large dams/canal systems which                 so that they can influence decisions related both to agriculture and
     are delayed mid-way through construction should be immediately               domestic use of water as equal partners. In recent times, water-related
     completed with limited available finances. Control of water                  questions have become an additional burden of injustice for women.
     distribution shall be transferred from government functionaries to           Many widows and women-headed households do not receive legal
     water users’ associations. This will increase the size and productivity      recognition and landed property rights. Hence they cannot receive
     of the command areas. Appropriate legislation should be immediately          rights to water in the fields and are systematically excluded from
     passed. Any decisions/action related to all of the above issues will be      decision processes and consequent rights. Other marginalised groups
     publicly monitored and the manipulations of politicians, contractors         including dalits, adivasis, nomadic tribes, landless and rural poor are
     and elements of the bureaucracy shall be exposed to public scrutiny.         similarly excluded and should also receive their rights to water. This
                                                                                  is an extremely important issue for bringing about socially equitable
     6. Powers of regulation to the watershed committee
                                                                                  distribution of water.
     Within each watershed, the powers of regulation should be conferred
                                                                                  11. Water literacy campaign
     on a watershed committee, to be elected by gram sabhas of the villages
     lying within the watershed. In this way, the power to control water          Conservation of water should be enforced in all the economic
     resources shall be retained under social control, thereby ensuring           sectors of production — agriculture, industry, municipal and urban
     balanced water allocation and usage. In order to increase democratic         consumption, etc. The value of water is a part of the right to life
     functioning, various deprived sections of the rural community within         and livelihood and it is the responsibility of all sections of society to
     the watershed jurisdiction — the poor, dalits, adivasis, women, artisans     conserve water.

and regions affected by ‘backlog’ in the irrigation sector.           managing the aggregate of entitlements on behalf of a
                                                                      group of entitlement-holders, may be issued an ‘aggregate
Permission to use water                                               bulk entitlement’, which will be considered a ‘bulk’ water
From a date that will be notified by the Maharashtra Water            entitlement.
Resources Regulatory Authority, no person will be allowed             River basin agencies themselves shall not receive
to use any water from any source in the state without                 bulk water entitlements for irrigation; they will act as
obtaining an ‘entitlement’ from the respective river basin            ‘conveyance entities’ for entitlements issued to water users’
agency (Section 14). That is, from a date notified by the             associations.
Authority, a farmer will have to take permission from the
respective river basin agency to sink a borewell. The river           The allocation of a percentage of the water available under
basin agencies specified are:                                         the entitlements of each facility shall be determined jointly
                                                                      by the river basin agencies and water user entities.
• Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation.
• Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation.                        ‘Individual’ water entitlements will be issued by river basin
• Konkan Irrigation Development Corporation.                          agencies only for:
• Tapi Irrigation Development Corporation.
• Godavari Marathwada Irrigation Development                          • Construction and operation of individual lift irrigation
Corporation.                                                          schemes from surface water sources.
                                                                      • Borewells, tubewells or other facilities for extraction of
Such permission from these agencies will not be required              sub-surface water.
in case of:
                                                                      In the event of water scarcity, the Maharashtra Water
• Use of wells for domestic purposes.                                 Resources Regulatory Authority shall adjust the quantities
• Use of small tanks, reservoirs or rainwater harvesting              of water to be made available to all entitlements.
catchments, with annual capacity fixed by the Maharashtra
Water Resources Regulatory Authority.                                 Sale of ‘entitlements’

Note:Till such time as the Authority issues such a notification,      All water ‘entitlements’ can be transferred, bartered, bought
people are allowed to use water from any source they like; there is   or sold on an annual or seasonal basis within a market
also no restriction on sinking any well till such date, other than    system regulated and controlled by the Maharashtra Water
restrictions imposed under existing Acts such as the Maharashtra      Resources Regulatory Authority. Permanent transfer of
Groundwater (Regulation for Drinking Water Purposes) Act.             entitlements can also be made, with the approval of the
                                                                      respective river basin agency and the Authority.
Compulsory use of water-saving technologies
                                                                      Integrated State Water Plan
From a date which will be notified by the Maharashtra
Water Resources Regulatory Authority, water shall not                 Under Section 15 (3) of the MWRRAA, an ‘Integrated
be made available from a canal for perennial crops like               State Water Plan’ has to be prepared by a State Water
sugarcane, unless the cultivator adopts drip irrigation or            Board comprised entirely of top bureaucrats from relevant
sprinkler irrigation or such other water-saving technology            departments.
approved by the Authority (Section 14 [4]).
                                                                      The plan shall be approved, with such modifications as it
Types of water ‘entitlements’                                         deems necessary, by a State Water Council comprising the
                                                                      chief minister, deputy chief minister, ministers of relevant
As discussed earlier, the Maharashtra Water Policy, like              departments and ministers representing Marathwada,
the National Water Policy, misuses the term ‘entitlement’.            Vidarbha and Rest of Maharashtra.
Under the MWRRAA, ‘entitlement’ is not a right but
simply an “authorisation” to use water. Under Section                 Implementation of MWRRAA
11 (g)(i) of the MWRRAA, such authorisations,
wrongly called entitlements, are to be issued by the                  The MWRRA Act 2005 came into force on June 8,
above-mentioned river basin agencies. Broadly, two                    2005. The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory
types of entitlements are envisaged: bulk and individual.             Authority has been constituted with the appointment of a
                                                                      chairperson and two members for a period of three years.
‘Bulk’ water entitlements for supply of irrigation water,             Five special invitees — one from each river basin — are yet
rural drinking water, municipal water or use of water                 to be appointed1.
for industrial purposes shall be issued by the river basin
agencies to relevant ‘water user entities’ such as:                   The concept of ‘entitlement’ for various categories of
                                                                      use and within each category has been introduced in six
• Water users’ associations.
                                                                      pilot projects (Kukadi, Ghod, Mangi, Wafgaon, Diwale
• Municipalities.
                                                                      and Benikre) for two years. A technical manual for fixing,
• Industrial users.
                                                                      regulating and enforcing entitlements has been prepared
Water user entities, including water users’ associations,             and circulated to field officers. After two years, the concept

of entitlement will be applied in one river basin.                  more than two children!

The Authority has collected literature on tariff structure          The use of unfamiliar concepts like ‘entitlements’ (which
from various countries and organisations such as the World          are anything but that) in the Act implies that in the near
Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and                   future, ordinary people will not be able to participate in
Central Water Commission and prepared a draft base paper            the regulatory process and make best use of the market
on the subject.                                                     opportunities it offers. Even civil society organisations
                                                                    (CSOs) with long years of work in the water sector will
The Authority has drafted a manual for preparation of the           find themselves lost unless they invest in acquiring the
Integrated State Water Plan. This manual will serve as a            skills and capacity to negotiate within the new regulatory
guideline for river basin agencies and consultants that may         system. Significantly, the MWRRAA itself is silent on
be hired.                                                           building the capacity of village-level people and CSOs to
                                                                    understand and use its complex language.
Critique of the MWRRAA
                                                                    (For a detailed critique of this aspect of the Act, see a submission
Essentially what the MWRRAA does is introduce a                     dated May 14, 2007, made to the Maharashtra Water Resources
bureaucratically controlled, market-oriented approach to            Regulatory Authority by Prayas, a Pune-based NGO with
the basic problem of inequitable, unscientific and wasteful         experience of the working of the Maharashtra Electricity
use of scarce and diminishing water resources.                      Regulatory Commission, viewable at the NGO’s website, www.
While doing so, it evades the primary issue of the State’s
responsibility towards long-term interests of all sections of       The MWRRAA does address the politically sensitive
the society, especially those who are most deprived in the          issue of excessive use of irrigation water by sugarcane
current setup. While the Act does talk about equitable and          farmers by making the use of water-saving technologies
sustainable use of water, the State’s responsibility is neither     by such farmers compulsory. However, this provision by
emphasised nor defined. Nowhere does the Act say that               itself will not reduce or limit the area under sugarcane
the main objective of the Maharashtra Water Resources               cultivation. The Act states that quantity of water saved
Regulatory Authority, overriding all other objectives, will be      “shall be distributed equitably in the command area and
to ensure that water is supplied to all areas in Maharashtra        the adjoining area,” after satisfying the demand for drinking
including all dalit hamlets and remote adivasi villages.            water. There is nothing here to prevent a sugarcane farmer
Consequently, there are no specific, time-bound                     from expanding the area under this crop, using up the
commitments towards this basic goal, to which the                   water saved. Further, no distinction is made between small
administration and political leadership can be held                 and large farmers. Implicitly, sugarcane cultivators using
accountable.                                                        canal water who cannot afford drip or sprinkler irrigation
                                                                    systems will be compelled to shift to seasonal crops, while
Within its limited objective, the Act imposes a heavily             well-to-do farmers will be unaffected in the long term.
bureaucratic framework that has no place for users in top-
level decision-making (the Maharashtra Water Resources              Finally, the Act is heavily tilted towards use of canal water and
Regulatory Authority does have space for ‘experts’ but              offers little to control exploitation of groundwater, which
that’s not equivalent to representation of users. Besides, the      feeds over half the area under irrigation in the
experts do not have voting rights). Users, it appears, will be      state. The Act does imply that use of groundwater will not
involved in water allocation at the basin level, but that’s as      be allowed without permission. But no guidelines are offered
far as their involvement will go. A comparison with water           on how this permission will be given or denied. Rather,
management in France (see box) shows the vast difference            it is explicitly stated in the Act that the Authority “shall
between a system of management and control by users, and            abide by the relevant provisions of the Maharashtra Ground
the system proposed for Maharashtra.                                Water Regulation (Drinking Water Purposes) Act, 1993”.
                                                                    This means that regulation of groundwater use will not be
The MWRRAA has by design no place even for                          anything beyond the very limited, and unsuccessful, regulation
panchayati raj institutions. Gram sabhas are not even               imposed by the latter Act (discussed earlier).
mentioned in the Act and even zilla parishad members
have no place — except perhaps in the visiting room                 Maharashtra Management of Irrigation Systems by
outside the Authority’s office!                                     Farmer’s Act, 2005 (MMISFA)

The Act does introduce the democratic concept of water              The MMISFA is, as its title suggests, limited to lands that
users’ associations. But these will cover only a fraction of        can be irrigated with water from a canal of an irrigation
the state’s cultivated area that is irrigated by canals or public   project or a public lift irrigation scheme. Under the Act,
lift irrigation systems.                                            the management of water distribution from these sources
                                                                    as well as responsibility for its maintenance is handed
As regards the crucial issue of equitable distribution of           over to water users’ associations (WUAs). All holders and
water, the Act offers nothing specific except a complicated         occupiers of land in an area assigned to a WUA will be
provision for levying higher water tariff on people with            deemed to be members of the WUA. Until such time as a

WUA is formed in an area, its functions may be entrusted             for dalits or adivasis; presumably they will be covered under
to a cooperative society or another WUA. (WUAs and                   “adequate representation” for people in middle and tail
water cooperatives have been in existence in some parts of           reaches of WUAs.
Maharashtra for many years.)
                                                                     Impact of the Act
The area of operation of a WUA will be delineated and
notified by an executive engineer. The engineer has to               It is yet early days for the MMISFA and there is no
give the WUA an updated map with details required for                comprehensive study so far on the impact of the
operation and maintenance of the irrigation system, and a            Act on cost of agriculture and efficiency of
list of landowners and occupiers in the delineated area.             irrigation2. According to experts such as H N Desarda,
                                                                     former state planning board member, annual cost of
After such a notification is issued, no water will be                recovery of full water and maintenance charges could
supplied to individuals; the water will be supplied at
                                                                     be as high as Rs 8,000 an acre. “There is no crop in
cost only to WUAs, as per a written agreement between
                                                                     Maharashtra which can sustain such levels of payment”
the WUA and one of the state’s five irrigation development
                                                                     (P Sainath, ‘Maharashtra’s Coming Water Wars’,
corporations that will supply the water. WUAs have
                                                                     The Hindu, April 27, 2005). Cost of water would
to themselves figure out and manage distribution of water
                                                                     reduce if the irrigation department improves efficiency
among all their members. Water volume measuring devices
                                                                     of supply — transmission and distribution losses are
will be supplied to WUAs at the point of supply and they
                                                                     estimated to be over 50% (Sharad Joshi, ‘The Racket
will be charged for water on a volumetric basis. WUAs
                                                                     of Water Cooperatives’, The Hindu Business Line,
have to recover the cost, as well as cost of maintenance,
from their members. They can levy minimum charges                    August 14, 2002). However, under the MMISFA,
even on members who are not using the water.                         irrigation corporations are in no way liable for
They can also raise money through deposits,                          crop losses suffered due to insufficient supply
borrowings, penalties, etc.                                          of water at source; as such, they are in no way
                                                                     pressurised to reduce losses in canal supply.
Every WUA will be a registered ‘body corporate’.
A canal officer will organise elections for the post of              Whether all WUAs would evolve a truly participatory
directors and chairperson of the managing committee                  irrigation management structure, with required
of a WUA, for a tenure of six years. “Adequate                       competence, is a matter of conjecture. There are a
representation” shall be given in managing committees                few WUA success stories in India, such as at Ozarkhed
to the holders or occupiers of the land from head,                   in the Waghad irrigation scheme, Nashik, but studies
middle and tail reaches of the area of operation of                  in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat also speak of low
WUAs, as well as women members, “in such manner                      awareness and participation of everyone except high
as may be prescribed”. There is no specific representation           caste males who dominate executive committees3.

                       Countrywide organisation of water management with users and people’s representatives

  • In France, surface and groundwater is considered a               • Local communities can associate themselves with a Local
  ‘national common heritage’. Water policy is defined by the         Water Community to help attain the objectives of the Local
  State, in partnership with all local communities and users         Water Commission’s scheme. A Local Water Community can
  — industrialists, large regional developers, farmers, suppliers,   be entrusted with construction or installation of equipment
  fishermen and fish farmers and associations for the protection     for developing a basin, developing and maintaining a
  of nature.                                                         watercourse that is not managed by the State, protecting
                                                                     against floods, controlling pollution, and protecting and
  • At the national level, the National Water Committee, chaired     preserving surface and groundwater.
  by a Member of Parliament, is composed of representatives
  of the National Assembly and the Senate, and of important          • A Water Agency set up in each of the six river basins is an
  institutions and national federations involved. It is consulted    administrative establishment with financial autonomy. A Water
  on the National Water Policy and on drafts of legislative and      Agency is managed by a board of directors composed of eight
  regulatory texts.                                                  representatives from local communities, eight representatives
                                                                     from the various categories of users, eight representatives
  • At the level of each of the six large river basins of the        from the State, and one representative of the agency staff. The
  country, a River Basin Committee, chaired by a local               chairman of the board of directors and the director of the
  elected official, prepares and adopts a masterplan for water       agency are appointed by the government.
  development and management at the basin level.
                                                                     • The Water Agencies’ financial resources are based on the
  • At the level of tributaries and sub-basins, a Local Water        ‘user-polluter-pays’ principle. Thus, for industries, water
  Commission is composed of representatives of local                 charges are calculated by using parameters appropriate to
  communities (50%), representatives of users (25%) and by           each type of industry, and the amount of pollution produced
  State representatives (25%).                                       by each establishment. The rates applied for calculating
                                                                     charges are determined by each Water Agency with the
  • A Local Water Commission prepares a water development            agreement of the River Basin Committee.
  and management scheme, fixing the general objectives for
  the utilisation, development and quantitative and qualitative
  protection of surface and groundwater resources. When the
  scheme is approved, all decisions made by administrative           Source: Website of International Office for Water (http://www.oieau.
  authorities must be consistent with the scheme.                    fr/anglais/index.htm)

                                                                        enabling legal framework to broadbase several successful
Summing up                                                              water-related initiatives in the state. No effort appears to
                                                                        have been made to reflect on the miserable failure of the
In a democratic setup, any government policy should be
                                                                        existing groundwater regulation Bill and think through
based on the needs of the majority of people. As explained
                                                                        remedies; the revised groundwater regulation Bill is merely
in Section 1, in Maharashtra, the basic water-related needs
                                                                        a copy of the central model Bill.
of the majority are self-evident:
                                                                        The water policy framework does not present a clear
• Just and scientific use of groundwater resources.
                                                                        picture of an integrated approach to water use by all
• Expansion of reach of water supply.
                                                                        categories of users — domestic, agricultural, commercial
The Maharashtra Water Policy (MWP) and the three main                   and industrial (Israel’s water law — see box — is an
legislations discussed address these needs at best in a vague           example of an integrated framework) — and sub-categories
and roundabout way. The MWP notes that around 43%                       within each user category, such as cash crop-growing
of the state’s population lives in areas that are “already              farmers, people dependent entirely on groundwater and
considered deficit or highly deficit” in terms of water                 people persistently denied water by caste prejudices. While
availability, and deficit areas are “expected to increase               the MWRRAA provides great details of how the World
steadily as both population increase and economic growth                Bank-promoted idea of ‘entitlements’ will be worked
take place”. But Maharashtra’s policy framework has                     out, it is silent on how the Authority will deal with basic
neither commitment nor a roadmap for achieving the goal                 inequities such as restricted access to water for dalits and
of ensuring adequate and sustainable water supply to all                gross rural-urban disparity in the supply of water.
people of the state in the next 10, 15 or even 50 years.
                                                                        The World Bank is the largest external funding agency
It does not require any special expertise to realise that in a          in the water sector in India and in Maharashtra, and it is
state with a large drought-prone area, water conservation               to be expected that it will attempt to dictate policies. It
and water management should be the basic plank of a                     is the responsibility of an elected government to reflect
water policy. Even otherwise, these constitute the most                 on the dictates, initiate widespread debate, and arrive at
efficient, economical and sustainable manner of ensuring                negotiating positions that reflect the will of the people it
adequate supply to all. However, no effort has been made                represents. No such serious effort was made before pushing
to create a platform for sustained water conservation                   through the MWRRAA in a manner that hardly adds
and water management efforts across the state, and across               glory to the state’s democratic tradition. The result is the
all user sectors. No effort has been made to provide an                 creation of a framework that has no place for water users

                                                 A water regulatory framework for all users

     • The first principle of Israel’s Water Law of 1959 is that        April-November. In case of a leak in a house’s internal system,
     water sources are the property of the public; there is no          the local authority demands immediate repair and payment
     private ownership of water resources. The absence of private       for the water lost.
     ownership of water is further clarified in Section 4 of the
     Water Law which states: “A person’s right in any land does         • Water rates for domestic use are higher than rates for
     not confer upon him a right in a water resource situated           industrial and agriculture uses on two grounds: (i) Water for
     therein...”                                                        agriculture and industry is designated for production (ii)
                                                                        Water for agriculture is supplied on a less reliable basis and is
     • The second principle of the Law is that “every person is         of poorer quality.
     entitled to receive and use water, subject to the provisions
     of this Law”. The right to water is not an absolute. It is         • Industrial users are subject to quotas based on water use
     always for one of the purposes recognised by the Water Law:        tables for various industrial uses. An industrial user whose
     domestic use, agriculture, industry, handicraft, commerce,         waste water disposal system does not meet required criteria
     services and public services.                                      does not receive a water consumption licence.

     • Each and every water use requires a licence. That is, licences   • Most regions in the country were declared “rationing
     are required for extracting water, supplying or consuming          regions”, meaning regions where water consumption was to
     water, sub-surface recharging and water treatment. All licences    be limited to fixed rations. Usage norms were established for
     are issued for one year only. The licence lists conditions that    the different crops; multiplication of norms by the scale of
     relate to quantity, quality, increasing the efficiency of water    crop cultivation determined the water quota for a farm.
     use, preventing pollution, etc. The licence may be revoked if
     the conditions are not fulfilled or if the water use endangers     • Water tariffs and several other matters can be enforced
     the water source.                                                  only after consultation with a Water Council, which includes
                                                                        representatives of government, consumers, suppliers and
     • Until 1995, domestic users in municipalities were subject        producers. Disputes between the government and individuals
     to quota allocations. Since that year, domestic water use is       pertaining to the Water Law are adjudicated before a
     regulated through a strict differential pricing mechanism.         special judicial forum, the Water Tribunal, composed of one
     Each consumer has an individual water meter, and water             professional judge and two public representatives.
     is charged separately from municipal levies. Water rates
     applicable rise in proportion to the amount of water               • Water allocations are based on the water needs in various
     consumed. For gardening and landscaping, a relatively low          regions of the country. Normally water is not allotted to
     water rate has been set, but only for a limited amount of          regions where a particular growth is considered uneconomical.
     water — 0.6 cubic metres per sq m of garden, and for no
     more than 300 cubic metres a year per garden, for the period       Source :

in policymaking. Even people’s elected representatives have
been relegated to a minor role — and perhaps many of
them are not even aware of this.

Management of water resources in a democratic country
is a complex affair. It requires the close involvement of all
categories of people who use water and, as public funds are
involved, elected and non-elected State representatives. It
also requires people with expertise in areas such as geology,
civil construction, water supply engineering, environment
protection, financial management and legal drafting. Only
when there is a framework created to involve all these
different ‘actors’ will water management over a large area
work in such a way that it meets the needs of the present
and future generations in a just manner. Maharashtra has
perhaps taken the first step in creating that framework, but
it still has a long way to go.


1. Information sourced from presentation made by S V Sodal, Secretary, Maharashtra
Water Resources Regulatory Authority, at an International Environment Law
Research Centre (IELRC) workshop on ‘Legal Aspects of Water Sector Reforms’
held in Geneva on April 20-21, 2007
2. Some WUAs in Maharashtra have been studied by the Pune-based Society for
Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM), a non-profit
organisation founded by retired irrigation department officials that initiated the
first water users’ association in Ahmednagar district. See
3. See J Wood, ‘Decentralisation, Democratisation and Development: The Case
of India’s Water Users Associations’; paper funded by the Shastri Indo-Canadian
Institute, 2000

. DHMJ partners                                  Rural Development Centre, Dukadegaon,
                                                                                                    India Sanstha, Charmoshi
                                                                                                    Jagruti Mahila Mandal, Gadchiroli
                                                  Savitribai Phule Mahila Shetmajur Kamagar         Janjagram Adivasi Gramin Bahuuddeshiya
Aurangabad district                               Sanghatana Mandal, Nagarmala                      Sanstha, Mahadwadi
AAWP, Satara                                      Sawali Pratishtan, Dharur                         Kaikawadi Samas Bahuuddeshiya Vikas Mandal,
Abhinav Vikas Sanstha, Bhakti Nagar, CIDCO,       Sawitribai Phule Mahila Mandal, Juna Nagar        Gomani
Aurangabad                                        Naka, Beed                                        Lumbini Bahujan Vikas Mahila Mandal,
Abhiyan,Vishal Nagar, Garkheda                    Sewadas Gram Vikas Sanstha, Panchpimpalgaon       Gadchiroli
Al Habib Education Society, Aurangabad            Shramsafalya Sewabhavi Sanstha, Bangali           ManvataYuvak Mandal, Gadchiroli
Apulki Sanstha, Aurangabad                        Pimpalgaon, Gewarai                               Nagmik Arogya Rakshak Sanstha, Wadsa
Balvikas Academy, HUDCO, Aurangabad               Urja Mahila Vikas Kendra, Majalgaon               Om Sai Seva Mandal, Chamorshi
CAPS, Aurangabad                                  Yuva Gram, Kaij                                   Phule-Ambedkar Samajkuja Sanstha, Mukhed,
Dilasa,Vedant Nagar, Aurangabad                                                                     Chamorshi
Gagan Welfare Society, Aurangabad                 Buldhana district                                 Prabodhan Sanstha, Markhana, Chamorshi
Geo Forum, Aurangabad                             Adarsh Yuvak Swayam Rojgar Seva Sahakar           Rajarshi Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj Yuvak
Golden Sports Club, Aurangabad                    Sanstha, Taroda-di, Shegaon                       Mandal, Chamorshi
Govt Institute of Science, Aurangabad             Chandramani Bahuudeshhiya Sanstha, Qawatar,       Rashtriya Bahuuddeshiya Shikshan Prasarak
Gram Vikas Sanstha, Thakre Nagar, CIDCO,          Shegaon                                           Mandal, Armori
Aurangabad                                        Gajanan Maharaj Samajsevi Sanstha, Khila,         Rural and Urban Development Youth
Grass Roots Action for Social Participation,      Khamgaon                                          Association, Gadchiroli
Shrey Nagar, New Osmanpura, Aurangabad            Jijamata Mahila Krushi Udyogik Sah Sanstha,       Sai Maharaj Sanstha, Dhanora
Holy Spirit Education & Welfare Society,          Gaulkhed, Mehkar                                  Samajik Vikas Bahuuddeshiya
Aurangabad                                        Krushi Vikas and Gramin Pratishtan, Talavi,       Sanstha,Gadchiroli
Janarth, Aurangabad                               Matola                                            Sambhar Bahuuddeshiya Yuvak Mandal, Guroli,
Jankidevi Bajaj Gramin Vikas Sanstha,             Mahatma Phule Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha,              Kurkhed
Sahakar Nagar, Aurangabad                         Jasthagaon, Sangrampur                            Sandes Sanstha, Gadchiroli
Jigyasa, Shivaji Nagar, Garkheda                  Navyuvak Nehru Yuva Krida and Sanskrutik          Sanjivani Vanvanshi Sewa Samiti, Gadchiroli
Krishi Sarathi, HUDCO, Aurangabad                 Mandal, Khaira, Nandura                           Savitri Mahila Mandal, Gadchiroli
Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Aurangabad                  Nehru Yuva Mandal, Naygaon (Deshmukh),            Shakuntala Memorial Society, Raipur,
Loksathi Pratishtan, Bansilal Nagar, Aurangabad   Mehkar                                            Chamorshi
Mahatma Phule Krishi Pratishtan, Aurangabad       Nehru Yuva Mandal, Taroda-di, Shegaon             Sharda Bahuuddeshiya Mahila Mandal,
Mahila Ekta Group, Bhoiwada, Aurangabad           Pragati Adivasi Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Malipura,   Gokulnagar, Gadchiroli
Manav GVSS, Nath Nagar, Harsul                    Shegaon                                           Shivalaya Samajik Vikas Sanstha, Gadchiroli
Manav Vikas Sanshodhan Sanstha, Aurangabad        Prerana Sushikshit Berojagar Seva Sahakari        Shri Gurudeo Mandal, Gadchiroli
Marathwada Sheti Sahayya Mandal, Aurangabad       Sanstha, Malegaon, Mehkar                         Shri Naveyuvak Sanskrutik Mandal, Makkepalli,
Navajyoti Vikas Mandal, Aurangabad                Sahayog Pratishtan                                Chamorshi
Nirman, Siddheshwar Nagar, Surewadi,              Sawitribai Phule, Devulagaon, Mehkar              Shriram Audyagik Sanskrutik Mandal, Pulkhal
Aurangabad                                        Shavat Mahila Krushi Uatapadak-Udyogik            Shriram Krida Sanskrutik Mandal, Pulkhal
Nisarg Saundarya Sanstha, Garkheda                Sahakari Sanstha, Dahali, Nandura                 Samrat Ashok Mandal,Yerkad, Dharmori
Paryay, Aurangabad                                Shree Samarth Sushikshit Berojagar Seva           Tejaswi Bharat Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Gadchiroli
Pathika Gramin Vikas & Sanshodhan Sanstha,        Sahakari Sanstha, Bhongaon, Shegaon               Vedha Sanstha, Gadchiroli Fule, Gadchiroli
Raj Nagar, Shahanoorwadi, Aurangabad              Shree Samarthan Yuva Vikas Bahuuddeshiya          Vir Baburao Krushik Krida Yuvak Mandal,
Pratham, Kushal Nagar, Aurangabad                 Shikshan Sanstha                                  Mukhera
Prayog, Aurangabad                                Shree Someshwar Panlot Bahuuddeshiya
Ramsingh Bapuji Sanstha, Aurangabad               Sanstha, Gomedargaon, Mehkar                      Hingoli district
Sacred, Aurangabad                                Swami Vivekanad Gramin Sanstha, Bhongaon,         Gram Vikas Sarvajanik Vachnalay, Dhamni
Sakar, Dashmesh Nagar, Aurangabad                 Shegaon                                           Gram Vikas Sarvajanik Vachnalay, Isapur
Savitribai Phule Ekatmik Samaj Mandal,            Swami Vivekanad Krida and Sanskrutik Mandal,      Gram Vikas Sarvajanik Vachnalay, Kalamkonda
Aurangabad                                        Paturda, Sangrampur                               Gram Vikas Sarvajanik Vachnalay, Parda
Seva Maitree, Samarth Nagar, Aurangabad           Vikas Sahayog Pratishtan, Goregaon, Mumbai        Gram Vikas Sarvajanik Vachnalay, Pimpaldari
Speed, CIDCO, Aurangabad                          Yuva Rural Sanstha                                Jagruti Lok Vikas Vachnalay, Hingoli
Sri Govind Bal Seva Sanstha, Aurangabad                                                             Jay Kisan Sanstha, Bhabali
Surabhi Gramin Vikas & Sanshodhan Sanstha,        Gadchiroli district                               Jayaji Paikrao Sarvajanik Vachnalay, Umra
Karmad                                            Aanan Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Sakhara               Kranti Mahila Sevabhavi Sanstha, Audha
Vision, Jai Vishwabharati Colony, Aurangabad      Abhinav Kalamanch, Gadchiroli                     Loksahayata Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Taktoda
                                                  Annabahu Sathe Sanstha, , Shirshi Armori          Mahatma Phule Sevabhavi Sanstha, Shelodi
Beed district                                     Azad Hind Yuvak Mandal, Govindapur,               Marathwada Gramin Sanshodhan Sanstha,
Anand Gramin Pratishtan, Anandgaon Kaij           Mulchera                                          Kalamnuri
Ankur Samajik Sanstha, Nandurghat, Kaij           Bahu-Vikas Sanstha, Nagari                        Mashagat Sevabhawi Sanstha, Audha (Nagnath)
Annabhau Sathe Gramvikas Kendra, Sant             Bal Navyuvak Sharda Mandal, Jepra                 Nagsen Panlot Sanstha,Vasamat
Namadeo Nagar                                     Dayasagar Bahuuddeshiya Samajik Vikas Satmak      Nagsen Sevabhavi Sanstha,Vasamat
Gramin Vikas Mandal, Bansarola, Ambejogai         Sanstha, Chamorshi                                Navjivan Panlot Kheshtra Vikas Mandal, Shivni
Janvikas Samajik Sanstha, Kaij                    Disha Bahu Vikas Sanstha, Gokulnagar,             Prerana Mahila Vikas Sanstha, Masod
Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Pratishtan, Shirur       Gadchiroli                                        Rajlaxmi Pratishtan,Varud (Chakrapan)
Manav Kalyan Kendra, Parali                       Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Samajik Abhyan              SAAD, Hingoli
Manavhit Sevabhavee Sanstha, Sanjay Nagar,        Kendra,Gadchiroli                                 Sankalp Sevabhavi Sanstha,Vasamat
Gevrai                                            Ekatmik Gramin Vikas Prakalp, Gadchiroli          Santoshi Mahila Mandal, Aaral
Nawajiwan Youth Mandal, Majalgaon                 Gram Arogya, Ghati                                Savitribai Phule Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha,
Rajeshri Shahu Maharaj Gramin Prakalp, Ashti      Gramin Aarogya Seva Sanstha, Gadchiroli           Hingoli
Ramabai Ambedkar Mahila Vikas Sanstha,            Gramin Vikas Yuva Mandal, Kharpundi               Ugam Gram Vikas Sanstha, Umara
Phulenagar, Kaij                                  Indian Institute of Youth Welfare, Gadchiroli     Ushakkal Sanstha, Sakota

Vishwadeep Sevabhavi Sanstha, Semgaon              Sahayog Nirmitee, Latur                         Zaregaon
Yashri Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Balapur           Sahyogini SR Sanstha Javalga (P), Ausa          Sahvas Sanstha, Kothala, Kallam
                                                   Samajik Sahyog, Tungi (B), Ausa                 Samata Samajik Vikas Sanstha, Tuljapur
Jalna district                                     Sangini Samajik Sanstha, Kolnur, Malhipparga,   Sankalap Bahuuddeshiya Samajik Sanstha,
Adarsh Savitribai Phule Bahuuddeshiya              Jalkot                                          Hipparga, Tuljapur
Sevabhavi Sanstha, Partur, Jalna                   Sant Kabir Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha,     Shivparvati Sanstha, Kadaknathwadi, Washi
Agape Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha, Nutan       Ganjur, Chakur                                  Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tuljapur
Vasahat, Jalna                                     Savitribai Phule Mahila Gramin Vikas Sanstha,   The Maharashtra Social Welfare Association, Ter
Bhahuvidh Jivan Vikas Prerana Mandal, Nutan        Umraga (M), Udgir                               Vidya Jagruti Shikshan Prasark Mandal, Ter
Vasahat, Jalna                                     Savitribai Phule Mahila Mandal, Devani (K),     Yashwant Kisan Vikas Manch, Kallam
Eknathji Rande Bahuuddeshiya Seva Sanstha,         Devani                                          Vitai Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Ghatanji
New Jalna                                          Shahid Bhagatsingh Seva Sanstha, Jalkot         Youngdhara Mahila Vikas Sanstha, Gurunanak
Gramvikas Sevabhavi Sanstha, Hivra (Kabhali),      Stri Adhar Kendra, Latur                        Nagar,Yavatmal
Hitchintak Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha,        Osmanabad district                              Nanded district
Ram Nagar, Jalna                                   Ambava Mahila Mandal, Jalkot                    Aasha and Disha Mahila Mandal, Ejali,
Marathawada Sheti Sahya Mandal, Kharpudi,          Amrapali Magasvargiya Vikas Mahila Mandal,      Mudkhed, Nanded
Jalna                                              Chincholi, Ulup, Bhoom                          Aasha Pratishtan, Arjapur, Biloli
Matoshri Sevabhavi Sanstha, Ambad                  Ashthavinayak Trust, Osmanabad                  Aashrya Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha,
Pratik Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha, Nutan      Asra Mahila Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha, Jevali,      Kandhar
Vasahat, Jalna                                     Lohara                                          Adarsh Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha,
Rajeshri Shahu Maharaj Sevabhavi Sanstha,          Bajarang Bali Gramin Vikas Mandal, Bhoom        Borgaon
Badnapur, Jalna                                    Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar              Adarsh Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Shivaji
Rastramata Bahuuddeshiya Seva Bhavi Sanstha,       Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha, Lohara,        Nagar, Nanded
Manegaon, Jalna                                    Budhavasi Nagarbai Jevale, Ma Bahuuddeshiya     Anandashram Pratishtan, Hadgaon
Sahara Yuva Mandal, Bhokardan                      Sanstha, Kanegaon, Lohara                       Anant Gramin Vikas, Pratishtan, Anteshwar
Sankalp Manav Vikas Sanstha, Pathri, Parbhani      Devdhar Bahuuddeshiya Samajik & Gramin          Penur, Loha
Saptsur Sevabhavi Sanstha, Nutan Basahat, Jalna    Vikas Sanstha, Wadgaonwadi, Lohra               Ankur Yuva Pratishtan, Shekhapur, Kandhar
Sarth Mahila Vikas Sanstha, Shivaji Nagar, Jalna   Dnyankiran Samajik Sanstha, Naldurg, Tuljapur   Asthang Vyayam and Krida Mandal, Mukhed
Satya Seva Christian Association, Nutan Vasahat,   Dr Padmsinh Patil Social Foundation,            Bhagyawan More Memorial Sevabhavi
Jalna                                              Osmanabad                                       Pratishtan, Shivaji Nagar, Nanded
Shri Shivshakti Krida & Sanskrutik Mandal,         Gram Daivat Samajik Sanstha, Krishnapur,        Bharat Jodo Yuva Academy, Kinwat
Karla, Jalna                                       Bhoom                                           Chhatrapati Swayamrojgar Seva Sahakari
Suryodai Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Piplagaon,      Gramin Bahuuddeshiya Seva Mandal, Samta         Sanstha, Bhokar
Ghansavangi                                        Nagar, Osmanabad                                Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Mission, Loni (Bu),
Vishwapratap Pratishtan, Mantha                    Gramin Vikas Mahila Kendra, Bhoom               Ardhapur
                                                   Halo Medical Foundation, Andur, Tuljapur        Education Society, Naygaon (Bajar), Naygaon
Latur district                                     Janseva Gramin Vikas Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha,     Godawaribai Bajaj Gramin Vikas Prakalp, Bothi,
Acharya Rural Development Research Society,        Ulup, Bhoom                                     Umri
Ahmadpur                                           Janseva Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Bhoom             Gram Vikas Sanstha, Markhel, Degloor
Bahujan Vikas Sevabhavi Samajik Sanstha,           Janvikas Samajik Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha,         Gramin Krushikranti Sevabhvi Sanstha, Umari
Ahmadpur                                           Bhoom                                           Gramin Vikas Samajseva Sanstha, Karanji,
Bhartiya Kasthkari Rayat Sanstha, Mohnal,          Jay Hanuman Gramin Vikas Sanstha,Yevati         Kinwat/Mahur
Chakur                                             Jaybhavani Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Hivara,        Gramin Vikas Sansadh, Adhampur, Biloli
Dalit Adiwasi Samaj Sudharak, Mangrul, Jalkot      Bhoom                                           Gramin Vikas Sevabhavi Sanstha, Banchincholi,
Dnyaneshwar SPM Gramin Vikas Kendra,               Kamdhenu Gramvikas Sanstha, Golegaon,           Hadgaon
Kingaon, Ahmadpur                                  Bhoom                                           Gramin Vikas Sevabhavi Sanstha, Patalganga,
Dr NY Dole Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Udgir             Kranti Jyot Samajik Sanstha, Kerur, Itkal,      Kandhar
Ekata Kamgar Karmachari Sangh, Hipparga,           Tuljapur                                        Gurukul Sevabhavi, Mitramandal, Dharmabad
Ahmadpur                                           Krantibhushan Bahujan Sahkari Sanstha,          Janchetana Sevabhavi Sanstha, Nanded
Gramin Lok Kalyan Mandal, Chakur                   Kanegaon                                        Jankalyan Sevabhavi Sanstha, Poornima Nagar,
Gramin Vikas Krantijyot Shikshan Sanstha,          Krishi Vikas Manch Sanstha, Sevalal Nagar,      Nanded
Shelgoan, Chakur                                   Osmanabad                                       Jankamal Pratishtan, CIDCO, New Nanded
Gramswarajya Pratishtan, Latur                     Lokhit Samajik Sanstha, Massa (K), Kallam       Janvikas Mandal, Barhali, Mukhed
Jay Hanuman Bahuuddeshiya Shikshan Prasarak        Lokmata Ahilyadevi Samajik Mandal, Ter          Jaybajrang Gramin Vikas Mandal, Kandhar
Mandal, Lasona, Devani                             Lokvikas Kendra, Diksal, Kallam                 Jeevan Vikas Sevabhavi Sanstha, Shir, Loha
Jaybhavani Shikshan Nagarsoga, Ausa                Ma Ramdas Athawale Yuvak Manch,                 Jijamata Gramvikas & Shikshan Sanstha,
Jivan Vikas Bahu Sevabhavi, Kavthali, Chakur       Osmanabad                                       Mukhed
Kalapandhari Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Sharda          Mahatma Phule Magasvargiya Bahuuddeshiya        Jijamata Sevabhavi Sanstha, Balirampur
Nagar, Latur                                       Sanstha, Ghatpimpri, Bhoom                      Kai Venkatrao Patil Gramin Vikas Shikshan
Lok Vikas Samajik Sanstha, Pangoan Renapur         Manav Mukti Samajik Sanstha, Pathrud, Bhoom     Pratishtan, Dogargaon, Loha
Lokseva Mandal, Bolegoan, Devani                   Manav Vikas Bahuuddeshiya Samajik Vikas         KGN Sevabhavi Sanstha, Gaglegaon, Biloli
Matrabhumi Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Hanuman           Sanstha, Watephal, Paranda                      Kisan Shikshan Prasark Mandal, Mukhed
Tekdi, Ahmadpur                                    Navyuvak Bahuuddeshiya Shikshan & Krida         Mahabodhi Mission, Sidharth Nagar, HUDCO,
Mother Teresa National Society, Prakash Nagar,     Mandal, Osmanabad                               Aurangabad
Latur                                              Parivartan Samajik Sanstha, Kallam              Mahatma Joytirao Phule Shikshan Prasark
Nehru Yuva Mandal, Ambegoan, Devani                Paryay, Hasegaon (K), Kallam                    Mandal, Naygaon (B)
Purogami Lok Vikas Mandal, Jalkot                  Pradynavant Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha, Naldurg,     Mahatma Phule Pratishtan, Bhaddarpura,
Rajmata Sushiladevi Deshmukh BS Sanstha,           Tuljapur                                        Kandhar
Latur                                              Pride India (STCI), Sastur, Lohara              Mahila Samasya Niwaran Mandal, Mukhed
Rashtriya Sevagram Chalburga, Javali, Ausa         Rangoli Janvikas Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha,         Manav Vikas Sanstha, CIDCO, New Nanded

Marathawada Gramin Vikas Sanstha,Vasantnagar,    Tiwat Galli, Gangakhed                          Janvikas Seva Sanstha, Ralegav
Nanded                                           Lokayatan, Pathari, Parbhani                    Jay Jagdambha Education Sanstha, Wai Hatola,
Matoshri Kondamata Sevabhavi Sanstha,            Lokdeep Manav Vikas Sanstha, Marathwada         Yavatmal
Narwata, Bhokar                                  Plot, Parbhani                                  Jivandhara Sanstha, Indraprath Nagari,Yavatmal
Naik Niketan Shikshan Sanstha, Sindkhed          Mahatma Phule Sevabhavi Sanstha, Dhanegaon,     Jivanjyoti Sanstha, Umarkhed
Nanded Gramin Vidhya Vikas Sanstha, Ashok        Selu                                            Kavatgir Mandal, Kavata, Ghoti, Ghatanji
Nagar (Jangamvadi), Nanded                       Mahesh Sevabhavi Sanstha, Gadad Gavhan,         Krushijivan, Maregav, Sonbardi, Kelapur
Nilganga Gramvikas Sanstha, Loha, Nanded         Jintur                                          Mahabhodhi Sanstha, Kotamba, Babulgav
Nisarg Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha,          Mahesh Sevabhavi Sanstha, Pathari               Maharashtra State Social Society, Watphali
Balirampur                                       Matrubhumi Rural Development Research           Matoshri Bebidevi Sanstha, Sambaji Nagar,
Parivartan, Nanded                               Centre, Wasmat Road, Parbhani                   Waghapur
Paras Shikshan Seva Mandal, Bhavitavya Nagar,    Nirmeeti Grameen Vikas Sanstha, Selmoha,        Navjagruti Sanstha, Pandhurna, Asegavdevi
Nanded                                           Gangakhed                                       Navvidya Sanstha, Mangalmurtinagar,Yavatmal
People’s Development Circle, Mukhed              Parivartan Gramvikas Sanstha, Daithana          Nehru Yuva Mandal, Watphali
Prerana Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha,         Pradnya Mahila Mandal and Sevabhavi Sanstha,    Nisarg Shree Sanstha, Pandharkawda,Yavatmal
Kurula, Kandhar                                  Dongargaon, Ganghkhed                           Prerna Sanstha, Javal, Ralegav
Priyadarshni Gramin Vikas Mandal, Mandvi,        Prayagmay Multipurpose Samaj Jagruti Sanstha,   Priyadarshani Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Ralegav
Kinwat                                           Dnyaneshwar Nagar, Pathari                      Priyadarshani Mahila Mandal, Manikwada, Ner
Rangrao Patil Pratishtan,Vasant Nagar, Nanded    Raje Shivaji Gramin Vikas Sevabhavi Sanstha,    Priyadarshani Samajik Sanstha, Mohada,
Sankalp Gram Vikas Prakalp, Dhuppa, Naygaon      Dastapur, Purna                                 Ghatanji
Sanskruti Sawardhan Mandal, Sharda Nagar,        Sahamati Sewabhavi Sanstha, Apana Ghar,         Rajmata Jijau Mahila Gram Vikas Sanstha,
Sagroli, Biloli                                  Adarshanagar, Palam                             Bitargav, Umarkhed
Shipra Gramin Samajik Vikas Sanstha,             Sankalp Sevabhavi Sanstha, Jintur               Ramsing Naik Sanstha, Pimpalshenda,
Himayanagar                                      Sankalp Sevabhavi Sanstha, Purna                Dongarkharda, Kalam
Shri Jijamata Mahila Mandal, Kawalgaon,          Sant Gadagebaba Pratishtan, Thadi Ukkadgaon     Rasikashray Sanstha, Ghatanji
Hadgaon                                          Savitribai Phule Mahila Mandal, Shelgaon,       Sai Samajik Sanstha, Umarsara,Yavatmal
Shri Sadanand Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi            Sonpeth                                         Sanjivani Sanstha, Saibaba Nagar, Old Umarsara
Sanstha, Taroda (Bu) Road, Nanded                Sawali Grameen Vikas Sanstha, Kodri,            Santh Kabir Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha, Godhani
Shri Sevadas Gram Vikas Mandal, Malegaon,        Gangakhed                                       Sarvadya Mahila Sanstha, Mangalmurtinagar,
Loha                                             Sewadas Gramvikas Mandal, Sutnagar, Parbhani    Yavatmal
Shri Sai Shikshan Sanstha, Loni (Bu), Ardhapur   Shaligram Shikshan and Samajik Sanstha,         Satyagrahi Yuva Sanstha, Shivneri Society,
Shrimati Parwatibai Mahila Vikas Mandal, Ravi    Shelgaon, Sonpeth                               Yavatmal
Nagar, Nanded                                    Shri Vyankati Sewabhavi Sanstha, Parbhani       Shahil Sanstha, Ghatanji
Shyam Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Loni (K),        Shrimati Kondabai Shikshan Sanstha, Farkanda,   Shramik Mitra Sanstha, Methikeda, Kalam
Ardhapur                                         Palam                                           Shri Datt Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha, Umarkhed
Sonai Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi and Shikshan       Socio Economic Development Trust,               Srujan, Mangurda, Kelapur
Sanstha, Taroda (K)                              Swapnabhoomi, Kerwadi                           Swarjivan Sanstha, Ghatanji
Tulaja Mahila Vikas Mandal, Ganesh Nagar,        Tuljabhavani Aradhi Mandal Va Sewabhavi         Tejswini Sanstha, Parva, Ghatanji
Nanded                                           Sanstha, Sonpeth                                Umarvihara Sanstha, Inzala, Ghatanji
Vaishnavi Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha,       Vikalp India, Jintur Road, Parbhani             Vikas Ganga, Ghatanji
Babulgaon, Hadoli, Kandhar                       WE for Women’s Empowerment, Sonpeth
Vanchit Vikas Loksanstha, Pankaj Nagar,          Wishwadeep Sevabhavi Sanstha, Degaon Phata,
Dhanegaon                                        Selu
Vanshri Samajik Sanskrutik and Gramin Vikas      Yedeshwari Shikshan Mandal, Nanapeth,
Sanstha, Eshawar Nagar, Umari                    Parbhani
Vijay Pratishtan, Lingi, Kinwat                  Yogeshwari Arogya Va Shikhan Prasarak Mandal,
Parbhani district
Acharya Narendra Dev Sevabhavi Sanstha,          Yavatmal district
Gangakhed Road, Parbhani                         Ahilyabai Holkar Sanstha, Kapeshore, Arni
Adarsha Sevabhavi Sanstha, Jintur                Aniket Sanstha,Vitoli, Digaras
Arunoday Bahuuddeshiya Sevabhavi Sanstha,        Asmita,Yavatmal
Chatori, Palam                                   BCARDS, Pandharkawda,Yavatmal
Girja Sevabhavi Sanstha, Wasmat Road, Parbhani   Bhimasisya Sanstha, Khandla, Arni
Gramvikas Mandal, Rampuri (Bu), Pathari          Bhimjyoti Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha,Yavatmal
Gramvikas Pratishtan, Sahakarwadi, Selu          Chetna Samajik Sanstha, Gurukrupa Nagari,
Gurubaba Vyayamshala, Jintur, Parbhani           Yavatmal
Hanuman Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Devthana,      Chintamani Sanstha, Bhabulgav
Purna                                            Datt Prabhu Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Ganori,
Janawadi Gram Vikas Pratishtan, Eknathnagar,     Bhabulgav
Pathari                                          Dilasa, Istari Nagar, Ghatanji
Jivan Jyoti Krushi va Shaikshanik Sanshodhan     Gayatri Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha, Ghatanji
Pratishtan, Kinhola, Manwat                      Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Karanji, Kinwat
Kalpavriksha Sevabhavi Sanstha, Parbhani         Gramin Yuvak Krida Sanstha, Dhanora, Digaras
Krushi va Grameen Vikas Pratishtan, Sarola,      Gramjyot Mandal, Shiroli, Ghatanji
Pathari                                          Gramjyot, Saibaba Nagar,Yavatmal
Late Nanasaheb Tatyasaheb Choudhari Samajik      GSMT, Jalaka, Maregav
Sanstha, Bori, Jintur                            Hirasing Naik Sanstha, Wardhali,Vasantnagar,
Late Vijay Gundewar Grameen Vikas Pratishtan,    Digaras
Sonpeth                                          Indian Institute of Welfare, Ralegav
Lok Tantrik Shikshan Prashikshan Kendra,         Janai Mauli Sanstha, Botoni, Maregav


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