January 25, 2003

2003: Comment # 9

Mukherji argues that development of groundwater markets, provision of support prices and improved institutional lending to agriculture can help eastern India break out of poverty...

Groundwater Development and Agrarian Change in Eastern India

Aditi Mukherji

[Based on research by: Vishwa Ballabh, Kameshwar Choudhary, Sushil Pandey and Sudhakar Mishra]

Notwithstanding the huge potential in terms of fertile soils, groundwater reserves, and rich peasant tradition, eastern India is characterized by low agricultural productivity, backwardness, and poverty.

Groundwater development can transform the stagnant east Indian agricultural economy into a vibrant one, with positive productivity and equity impacts. However, due to a multitude of policy differences coupled with varying agrarian structures, the beneficial impact of groundwater has not been realized equally across the region.

A few policy level changes can go a long way in unleashing an unprecedented boom in the emerging groundwater based agrarian economy in eastern India.

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