Political Economy of Resource Allocation: Emerging Issues of Sanitation in Urbanising Himalaya

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 18:10
Oral Presentation
Unequal allocation of municipal services and services maintenance resources in urbanizing Himalaya, resultant scenario of insanitation, people’s deprivation of basic civic amenities including adequate quantity of potable drinking water land the Himalayan state in a paradox- pledge for a Swachh Bharat on the one hand and dwindling municipal services on the other. The qualitative transformation in the society therefore remains a far cry. This is substantiated by the fact that 52.1 rural and 7.5 percent urbanites by choice go for open defecation. Since most part of Himalayan region is rural and limitedly urbanized the problem is acute. While Himalaya is a perennial source of water to the people of plains the people in Himalaya suffer from acute scarcity of water, a key component in sanitation practices.

The paper stresses upon the need for comprehensive incisive strategies vis-à-vis sanitation in urbanizing Himalayan region. A workable strategy has to be formulated keeping in view the social structure and political economy of resource allocation. The underlying rationale of the proposed is to resolve the multiple unresolved paradoxes between increasing wealth of nation-state and declining state services, increasing sanitation needs of fast growing populations, especially in the urban areas and declining capacities of the municipal corporations to meet the unmet sanitation needs.

This paper, based on empirical study of Shimla city in north-west Himalaya argues that mountains have historically been the source of forest wealth and water to the peoples of plains but political expediency and political economy of the state its own urban structures have suffered on account of resource constraints. While the increasing population- both the permanent residents and floating population- tourists, labour force etc. considerably adversely affect the services, the unequal distribution of resources among different classes of population leave deep rooted perpetual effect on municipal services.