Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 411
Mapping Institutions for Assessing Groundwater
Scenario in West Bengal, India
With the growing realisation that the policies towards ‘getting property rights right’ and ‘getting prices right’ do not work well in natural resource management, increasing focus is being given to ‘getting institutions right’. The current study assesses and analyses West Bengal’s groundwater management from an institutional perspective. The case of West Bengal proves interesting since it is dealing with a major environmental issue of arsenic contamination in groundwater, while the formal institutional set-up is aimed at liberalising groundwater extraction for agriculture. Based on the analysis of relevant secondary data and primary survey data from sample villages, the study brings forth the linkages between various institutional factors and their implications for sustainable groundwater use in West Bengal. The concluding section summarises the findings and draws out lessons for policy.