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

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Rural Drinking Water Reforms in Maharashtra: The Role of Neoliberalism

Even as the recent financial crisis has led to a questioning of the ideological regimes that have been dominant since the 1990s in India, the processes that have already been set in motion - for instance, as a result of reforms in the water sector - are yet to be completely understood. This paper attempts to draw on the critical literature to understand the role and meaning of neoliberalism, particularly in the context of the rural drinking water reforms in Maharashtra. While the influence of neoliberalism cannot be understood as something that determines the course of the reforms in an absolute sense, its varied and often insidious channels of operation imply that its influence cannot be taken lightly either. This, in turn, has implications for the kind of political position that one takes on the reforms as well as for future research directions.

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Rural Drinking Water Reforms in Maharashtra: The Role of Neoliberalism

Priya Sangameswaran

Even as the recent financial crisis has led to a questioning of the ideological regimes that have been dominant since the 1990s in India, the processes that have already been set in motion – for instance, as a result of reforms in the water sector – are yet to be completely understood. This paper attempts to draw on the critical literature to understand the role and meaning of neoliberalism, particularly in the context of the rural drinking water reforms in Maharashtra. While the influence of neoliberalism cannot be understood as something that determines the course of the reforms in an absolute sense, its varied and often insidious channels of operation imply that its influence cannot be taken lightly either. This, in turn, has implications for the kind of political position that one takes on the reforms as well as for future research directions.

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