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Institutional Pluralism at the Grassroots for Management of Commons: Case Studies from India

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Ragupathy, V.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1949
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): community participation
local governance and politics
Abstract: "Grassroots Commons in India have been managed by the traditional community based local institutions in Indian villages. But the traditional institutions are not inclusive, democratic and gender sensitive. A recent (1992) constitutional amendment in India has created 2.5 lakhs village governments (Panchayati Raj) and equal number of village assemblies. The new local governments are inclusive democratic and gender sensitive. In many states of India critical commons like irrigation systems, village common lands and minor forests are transferred to the democratically elected village local governments. This paper explains the changes brought out by the new arrangements in the management of village commons. Three case studies are included each illustrating the management of commons by three types of institutional arrangements. The first case is a model for the synergy. In this case village local governments and traditional local community organisations are able to find ways and means to manage commons jointly and use all the available opportunities from the state and community. The second case explains how Panchayats are able to manage the commons effectively on it's own through the legally established system of governance. The third case illustrates how a local community based institution is able to operate independently within the local government and effectively manage the commons. The strength and deficiencies of all the tree cases are discussed. This paper presents the significance of pluralistic institutional arrangements for the management of commons. This will help the institutions to be more efficient sustainable and democratic."

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