ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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China s Slow-Changing Polity

Often, willingness and ability to pay for services are put forward as major constraints for implementing the pricing policies. One only needs to visit some of the scarcity regions in urban or rural areas to realise how mythical it is. It is not an exaggeration that rural and urban poor often spend in the scarcity regions/seasons as much as an urban household pays for its annual water bill [see Reddy 1993 and ongoing]. However, this is not to suggest that stand post water supplies covering slums and poor should be priced. One is arguing for progressive (not the presently followed price structure with ridiculously low water rates) and discriminatory pricing of public utilities. As the author himself mentions in his preface, the book looks somewhat disjointed. Had the author started with the review chapter first and proceeded after identifying some of the gaps in the literature the book would have been more coherent. One also misses concluding remarks in the form of emerging research issues at the end of the exhaustive and lengthy review chapter. Finally, the chapter [four] on housing is weak as it is too descriptive in explaining the functional aspect of various organisations. This chapter could have been strengthened analytically with the help of the available NSS data on housing (on the tines of water supply and sanitation).

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