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Panchayati Raj and Watershed Management in India: Constraints and Opportunities

Working papers

This report examines the institutional links between Panchayati Raj and the Guidelines for watershed development that were issued by the Ministry for Rural Areas and Employment in New Delhi. Panchayati Raj is a three-tier system of local government, which became a constitutional part of democracy in India in 1993. The Guidelines were issued to rationalise the approaches and delivery mechanisms of various watershed development programs and provide them with a common framework. The Guidelines are widely accepted as being unprecedented in their emphasis on involving local people and providing them with the necessary autonomy to develop their watersheds.

This report examines four particular issues in the links between the two systems

  • The philosophy and objectives of these bodies with respect to watershed development.
  • The difference in roles and modes of operation between the two bodies and how the balance of power between these is established.
  • The nature of the linkages – both formal and informal – between watershed institutions and political bodies.
  • The mechanisms that exist for ensuring the transparency and accountability of these institutions at the district, block and village levels.
Pari Baumann