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Inter State Water Disputes in India: Institutions and Policies

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  • Alan Richards

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Nirvikar Singh

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Abstract

In this paper we argue that Indian water-dispute settlement mechanisms are ambiguous and opaque. We distinguish analytically between situations where cooperation is possible, and situations of pure conflict, where the initial allocation of rights is at stake. In the latter case, a search for a negotiated solution may be futile, and quick movement to arbitration or adjudication may be more efficient. However, in India, the process is slow, and effectively binding arbitration does not exist. The entanglement of inter-state water disputes with more general center- state conflicts and political issues compounds problems. We argue that these impacts can be reduced by a more efficient design of mechanisms for negotiating inter-state water disputes: some of the possibilities include a national water commission independent of daily political pressures, a federated structure incorporating river basin authorities and water user associations, and fixed time periods for negotiation and adjudication.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Richards & Nirvikar Singh, 2004. "Inter State Water Disputes in India: Institutions and Policies," Development and Comp Systems 0412010, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0412010
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 35
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    File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/dev/papers/0412/0412010.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Elinor Ostrom & Roy Gardner, 1993. "Coping with Asymmetries in the Commons: Self-Governing Irrigation Systems Can Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 93-112, Fall.
    2. Nirvikar Singh, 1997. "Governance and reform in India," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 179-208.
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    Cited by:

    1. Singh, Nirvikar, 2006. "State Finances in India: A Case for Systemic Reform," MPRA Paper 1281, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Singh, A. & Gosain, Ashvin K., 2004. "Resolving conflicts over transboundary watercourses: an Indian perspective," Land Use and Water Resources Research, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Centre for Land Use and Water Resources Research, vol. 4.
    3. Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in India," MPRA Paper 1447, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "The Dynamics of Reform of India’s Federal System," MPRA Paper 2282, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Nirvikar Singh, 2007. "The dynamics of reform of India’s federal system," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 8(1), pages 22-31, April.

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    JEL classification:

    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth
    • P - Economic Systems

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