RESEARCH FOCUS GROUP TALK: REFORMING THE CENTRALISED STATE: DECENTRALIZATION PARADIGMS IN THE DRINKING WATER SECTOR IN INDIA AND THE PHILIPPINES FEAT. SATYAJIT SINGH

This talk will examine decentralized reforms in the drinking water sector in India and the Philippines from a policy perspective focused on institutional design and implementation at the local level. It has been argued that institutional architecture for decentralized reforms is contested and requires better understanding of power and politics in shaping decentralization designs and outcomes. The paradigm of Indian decentralization is endogenous, and from this one can suggest that greater devolution in the water sector will lead to greater democratization across other sectors. However, given the biases of international development assistance in the Philippines, decentralization has taken the form of privatization in a Philippine province. While highlighting the important role that the provision of safe drinking water can play in poverty alleviation, Singh will suggest that privatized reforms have failed to address wider concerns related to the public goods nature of water. He will argue that decentralization can be synonymous with both democratization and privatization in different paradigms of decentralization in the water sector.

Satyajit Singh is Professor of Political Science at the University of Delhi. His research interests are governance, Indian politics, public policy, development, and environmental issues. His publications include The Local in Governance: Politics, Decentralization and EnvironmentTaming the Waters: The Political Economy of Large Dams in IndiaThe Dam and the Nation: Displacement and Resettlement in the Narmada Valley (co-editor); and Decentralisation: Institutions and Politics in Rural India (co-editor).

Sponsored by the IHC’s South Asian Religions and Cultures RFG and the Department of Global Studies