None against Reforms: Varied Interpretations of Global Ideas during a Participatory Irrigation Management Exercise in Andhra Pradesh, India

By Rahul Pillai Sivashanmugham.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Neutral ideas and apolitical policies are (examples of) oxymora. Reform, in irrigation water management as in many other sectors, is likewise a please-all word. The malleability and ductility of its interpretations have allowed different actors to employ it in a variety of ways. The interests and agendas of influential international bodies or governments provide the initial push to ideas which later gain currency globally. Multiplicity of agents holding varied interests in different arenas complicate the picture. Even when coming to the adoption of a global “reform”, the transfer to, translation of, and transformation by local actors can vastly alter the net result achieved. Lofty goals of rationality alone have not been the primary driving force for policy making regarding PIM in Andhra Pradesh. Political rhetoric, image building exercises and strengthening of party base have been but some of the inducements. The gap between policy formulation and implementation itself is considerable, with the process being far from a simple linear model. Evidence from literature and the field show considerable dynamism and negotiations in changes in irrigation water management on the ground in Andhra Pradesh.

Keywords: Policy, Politics, Integrated Water Resources Management, Participatory Irrigation Management, Andhra Pradesh

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 9, Issue 4, February 2015, pp.25-33. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 581.424KB).

Rahul Pillai Sivashanmugham

PhD Student, Department of Political and Cultural Change, ZEF - Centre for Development Research, University of Bonn, Bonn, Nordrhein Westfalia, Germany

I am pursuing a PhD at the University of Bonn, Germany. What started out for me as an interest in the world we live in by studying geography for a Bachelor’s, took shape into regional development while pursuing a Master degree. It took a more concrete form in a M.Phil. course in planning and development which exposed me to multidisciplinary approaches in varied (and contested) definitions and practices of development. I decided to seek more hands-on experience after finishing my M.Phil., which resulted in being selected as a research assistant at a UNESCO partner project in Uzbekistan. I went back to India as a field researcher in the STRIVER project. As a PhD student, I am presently working on irrigation and resource management in the context of rural development in semi-arid and drought prone uplands of south central India, with a keen interest in politics of policy process.