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Role of institutional interplay in the post-project sustainability of watershed development programmes: a case study in Kadwanchi, Maharashtra, India

Vrishali Parab

No wq2ha, Thesis Commons from Center for Open Science

Abstract: This thesis studies how institutional interplay (i.e. interaction between institutions), across different scales and levels of governance, can determine the post-project sustainability of watershed development programmes (WDP, henceforth), which are institutional interventions taken towards the holistic development of rural farming systems. Integrated watershed development has become one of the main vehicles of rural development in rainfed areas in India. Yet, in spite of the several local success stories, the participatory watershed development has not reached their desired scaling-up. Lack of the post-project sustainability of these projects is considered as one of the main factors behind this failure. This study frames the problem of post-project sustainability as the query of institutional analysis, where a WDP is construed as a composite of institutional interventions. To understand how the institutional interplay between this intervention (i.e. WDP) and other institutions of its environment affect its governance, especially in the post-project sustainability, this thesis investigated the following core research questions: i. How the interactions between WDP and other institutions influence its post-project sustainability? ii. What are the mechanisms of these interactions, in terms of causal pathways and instruments by which one institution affects the outcome or development of another? To answer these questions, this thesis used the case study method. The design of this case study was made with the intent of understanding the institutional factors behind the post-project sustainability of a drought-prone village in District Jalna of Maharashtra, where a watershed development programme was implemented during 1996-2002 under the aegis of Indo-German Watershed Development Programme (IGWDP). After more than a decade of the project’s conclusion, the village has come to the forefront as an example of successful watershed development and general water literacy that enabled the local farmers to survive and even prosper through the recent drought of 2012-13. While Kadwanchi had relatively unique position among the many other watershed development programmes in the area due to its success, it also shared many common characteristics of the rainfed farming systems of the region. However, it should be noted that the unit of analysis of this case study was not the Kadwanchi watershed per se, but the phenomenon of institutional interplay in the local-level governance. The constructivist-interpretive approach influenced the data collection and analysis. Primary methods of data collection during the fieldwork were interview, narrative inquiry, and participant observation. The data was coded qualitatively by both the sets of deductive and emergent codes through the assistance of web-based QDA software WeftQDA. The empirical analysis also contained a component of policy analysis, that focused on understanding how policy developments at regional and national level can influence the local governance of watershed management. The analysis of these interactions focused on understanding their causal mechanisms. For this purpose, it sought to identify the tangible structures and processes through which, the institutional changes were brought upon in these interactions. The thesis proposed these structures and processes to be called as ‘transmission instruments’ of interplay. Altogether, this case study along with analysis led to inferences on both empirical and theoretical quests of this thesis. In the former category, the study identified historical and emerging policy developments influencing the watershed sector in India. It also acknowledged that the concept of post-project sustainability is multidimensional in nature, which proved to be crucial in its institutional analysis. The thesis identified the key institutional interactions that facilitated Kadwanchi’s post-project watershed resource governance. The narrative analysis of the fieldwork drew the attention to the significance of equitability in this context. Observed and analysed the key institutional interactions shaping the local governance of Kadwanchi’s watershed management. These inferences led to the modification of its proposed analytical framework for interplay analysis. In conclusion, this thesis considered these inferences vis-à-vis the emerging policy trends in the sector and identified the policy implications of the case study in the larger scope of watershed governance. These implications mainly concerned the changing nature of the ‘participation’ in rainfed farming systems and challenges of policy integration. On theoretical front, the thesis reconsidered analytical framework of interplay in the light of case study inferences, and modified it with additional suggestions of transmission instruments, before emphasizing on their importance in interplay analysis.

Date: 2018-05-14
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:osf:thesis:wq2ha

DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/wq2ha

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