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Efficacy of Groundwater as ‘Commons’: An Enquiry into the Implementation of Groundwater (Control and Regulation) Bill of 1992 in selected States in India

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Singh, Neha; Narayanan, N. C.
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7126
Sector: Social Organization
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): groundwater
Abstract: "Though in India water has been perceived as a common pool resource (CPR) for centuries, in the current scenario, water as ‘commons’ exists more in theory than in reality. The case of groundwater is even more complex considering the present state of the prescription under the Indian law where the ownership of land carries the ownership of the groundwater under it. This has resulted in the excessive, indiscriminate use of groundwater leading to over exploitation. The pressure on ground water resources has increased many folds in the recent past with the shifts in the agricultural patterns, urban growth and rising demands from various sectors of the economy. Central Ground Water Board paints a gloomy picture of the status the groundwater resources across the country with an increasing number of ‘critical’ and ‘over exploited’ blocks. This critical state of ground water resources has led to the demand for groundwater regulation in India. The Model Groundwater (Control and Regulation) Bill of 1992 was formulated and circulated by the Central Government for the consideration of the states, and eventually been adopted in many states across the country. This paper examines the effectiveness of the Model Bill with the analysis of the provisions of the Bill in the various states in India. The paper also addresses the larger debate on the issue of groundwater as commons."

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