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Resisting Reform?

Resisting Reform?
Water Profits and Democracy

First Edition

January 2009 | 180 pages | SAGE India
A wide range of people and organisations, united by either a belief in market-based economics or a financial stake in the water business or both, are convinced that water should primarily be treated as a commodity to be bought and sold so that all water services can cover their costs. To this end, they advocate private ownership of water supply with the underlying objective of profit generation.

Unfortunately, the benefits of such reasoning are skewed, and while it has been put into practice around the world, many people have come out as losers in this bargain. Resisting Reform? Water Profits and Democracy critically examines the attempts that have been made to ‘reform’ Bangalore’s water supply and situates them in their global and national context and in that of the city’s broader development. It looks at how the ‘reforms’ have entered government policy and how they have been opposed, principally by the many poor in the city. This book also describes how involving private players is not the best way to ensure an equitable water supply and that treating water as a commodity is a dangerous principle to adopt for running any water service, be it public or private.

This book will be a rich resource for professionals and activists working in the areas of natural resources management, globalisation, development studies and public policy. It will also be of much interest to research scholars and media and policy watchers.
`Reform` for Sale: The Privatisation of Water Supply
'Reform' for Sale: The Privatisation of Water Supply
Neutering Democracy: `World-class` Visions
Privatisation: The Global Hydra
Insidious Institutions: `Reform` Stakeholders in Bangalore
Misplaced Compassion: An Illusory Participatory Democracy
Emerging Resistances: People Fight Back
Epilogue: Recovering Equitable Reforms

The book deserves praises for several reasons. First, it is very well written…the authors also deserve praise for the manner in which they construct the story of the city’s water privatization, building on anecdotal evidence, extracts from the media and personal experience of one of  the authors. Further, it provides a valuable addition to the literature on water policy process in India, a body of work relatively underdeveloped…. For this reason the book should interest students of governance and public policy, the activist as much as the serious academic.

The Book Review

This is one of the best books on the subject of privatisation of water that I have read in a long time….. The book is about Bangalore, but its importance goes far beyond the Bangalore (even the Indian) context.

The Hindu

Resisting Reform? offers a brave alternative, of real democracy and how this has been sidelined to make way for companies to take over the government…. The struggle for water, it seems, is a struggle for democracy too and thanks to [the authors] this understanding of water is so clearly depicted in their book.

The Pioneer

A book with important insights to tap into.

Business Line

Kshithij Urs

Kshithij Urs is a medical graduate from the Bangalore University and has a Masters degree in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has been an activist and a campaigner for the urban poor, the urban homeless and children in difficult circumstances since 1993. He has contributed significantly in building an award winning organisation—APSA (The Association for Promoting Social Action) that works with the poor in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. He is also the director of Ants Eye View, a grassroots media centre. Presently, he heads the Karnataka regional office of ActionAid, an... More About Author

Richard Whittell

Richard Whittell is from the UK. He lived in Bangalore during the bulk of events in the book. He is currently making a film about the UK Government’s Department for International Development and the opposition to its work in India. More About Author

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ISBN: 9789353281212

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