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Governance and Institutional Change in Traditional Commons: Lessons from Chhattisgarh, India

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Marothia, Dinesh K.
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/10535/521
Sector: Social Organization
General & Multiple Resources
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): institutional change
governance and politics
common pool resources
indigenous institutions
water resources
Abstract: "Chhattisgarh, an Indian state, has innumerable multi-use common water bodies (MUCWBs). These water bodies are being administered and controlled under different property rights regimes by different state departments. Fisheries in MUCWBs dates back to time immemorial in Chhattisgarh and have been traditionally managed under common property regime. In recent past fisheries in MUCWBs have been managed under cooperative governance structure an internal institutional structure model of distributed governance system. Fishermen communities/resource users groups and the state or local village government shared the responsibility of managing fisheries by combining appropriate institutional skills of local resource users/local committees and technical, administration and financial resources available with the states. Fisheries cooperative societies (FCSs ) have been assigned usufruct rights to use MUCWBs for fisheries subject to certain socio-economic and administrative conditions. Under the Fisheries Policy of Government of Chhattisgarh, first preference has been/is being to FCSs to leased in MUCWBs irrespective of water spread area. MUCWBs can only be leased out to fisherman groups and individual fisherman if FCSs do not bid for leasing in MUCWBs or FCSs are not existing in a particular village. Further, in order of priority, fisherman community is being given first preference to lease out MUCWBs. The issues related to management of traditional MUCWBs by FCSs are complex due to different categories and characteristics of these common water bodies, scale, size and coverage of FCSs and multiple stakeholders and agencies involved in governing the water resources. Looking to the importance of MUCWBs for fish culture, irrigation, and other domestic uses in Chhattisgarh this study was undertaken to provide an overview of governance structure of fisheries in MUCWBs and to discuss outcomes of an indepth analysis of four FCSs, which have covered different categories of MUCWBs administered under different property rights regimes. This study has also discussed performance of individual fisherman who have leased in MUCWBs Findings of a quick well focused case study of Self Help Groups is also presented. The study has suggested workable institutional arrangements for sustainable management of MUCWBs to reduce poverty and vulnerability of poor stakeholders."

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