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Maharashtra's manmade drought - govt. is not the answer

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  • karmayog - tanya
    http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/ZttAAbRF16LGRTnX1Sg1iP/Maharashtras-manmade-drought.html Maharashtra s manmade drought Calls for govt action in case of
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2013
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      Maharashtra's manmade drought

      Calls for govt action in case of Maharashtra should persuade even the
      staunchest supporters of benign govt intervention to do a rethink

      Livemint - First Published: Tue, Apr 09 2013. 05 55 PM IST

      The drought situation in Maharashtra has attracted some amount of political
      attention, with the Union government announcing a Rs1,207 crore debt relief
      package in March. This is apart from relief measures announced by the state
      government. While experts have flayed the mismanagement of the situation by
      the state government, they continue to demand more aid and efficient
      allocation of water resources to alleviate the problem.

      In the case of Maharashtra, calls for government action should persuade even
      the staunchest supporters of benign government intervention to do a rethink.
      First, as many reports already suggest, rain has not failed the state in any
      substantial manner for blame to be assigned on the monsoon. Water from the
      huge, multi-crore irrigation projects has eluded farmers for years. This is
      despite the allocation of huge amounts of public funds to these projects. In
      the case of public projects like these, the incentives for recuperating
      investments are essentially nil. So these projects remain in a standstill
      for years, while contractors with political influence benefit throughout
      with the flow of more public funds.

      Second, while small farmers are in utter distress, in total contrast, sugar
      farms and factories owned by politicians even in drought-affected areas
      manage to receive ample water supply. This falls right on the face of
      advocates of government welfare who think governments can act in a benign,
      neutral fashion and improve the welfare of citizens. What they end up with
      is always very different from their intended plan. But one lesson is never
      learnt: when governments take charge of allocating resources, politicians
      acting as self-interested rational agents siphon off these resources for
      their own personal benefits. This is quite visible in Maharashtra's arid

      The water supply system in India is almost under government control, which
      effectively means that there is no efficient way for farmers to buy water in
      an honest manner through the market. In such a system, it is the politically
      connected who are set to gain, not the farmers.
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