Acqua Naturale

Manthan Adhyayan Kendra is a centre set up to monitor, analyse and research water and energy related issues, with a special focus on the latest developments resulting from the liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation of the economy. Located at Badwani, a district town in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India, they are just five kilometers away from the banks of Narmada, a river that has come to symbolise so many of these issues in recent years. While the focus of their work is on water and energy issues, they are also deeply concerned about equitable, just and sustainable development.

Public-Private Partnerships in Water Sector: Partnerships or Privatisation? is their new book, available for download from the Manthan website.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are supposed to provide solutions to many of the existing problems related to infrastructure projects – in both execution and operation. Currently, there are PPP projects in almost all the sectors including roads, ports, airports, water, sewerage, solid waste management and transport among others. It is, therefore, important to do a reality check on PPP projects and their efficacy in addressing the problems faced by the public sector water supply services and other infrastructure sectors as well.

The report looks at various aspects of PPPs, beginning from why PPPs have come to be regarded as the major approach for infrastructure development in the country, the circumstances that lead to the change in approach from direct privatisation to public-private partnerships, the current status of the PPP projects that are being executed in India, especially in the water sector, to the current estimates and projections of investment requirements for infrastructure development in India by governments and International Financial Institutions (IFIs).

The report analyses the arguments given in favor of PPPs, the structural issues with PPPs and the larger governance issues associated with PPPs like transparency, people’s participation, access to information and regulation. It also looks for evidence and experiences of PPP projects in various parts of the world. It draws lessons that need to be learnt and cautions that need to be taken on board when advocating PPPs in public services like water and sanitation.

The report also studies the impact of the PPPs on some of the social obligation issues like the responsibility of provision, service delivery and equity when the private sector is involved in delivery of public services like water.

If you would like a hardcopy of the book, that can be got from Manthan. We would also be very happy to help- write to us!