The Electricity Groundwater Conundrum: Case for a Political Solution to a Political Problem

Economic & Political Weekly, 29 December 2007

Low cost and low quality electricity for agriculture contributes to erosion of electricity distribution systems and encourages wasteful consumption, even as farmers are increasingly deprived of adequate and good quality power. While past efforts to solve this problem have focused on technocratic approaches, this paper attempts to articulate a political interpretation of the electricity-groundwater conundrum. The paper argues that farmers are quite rational in their current decision-making given the problematic context within which they make choices. It outlines a more explicitly political approach to the problem, based on state level bargains between stakeholders and a multifaceted approach to implementing bargains.