The concept of decentralization has rapidly occupied an important place in international discourse on local governance over the past few decades. This concept has different attributes, including political, economic, administrative and fiscal decentralisation. Yet, in the Indian context, the political decentralisation has been at the core of rural developmental governance. The 73rd amendment has provided the necessary pace and constitutional backing for the process of devolution of powers to Panchayati Raj Institutions, especially the Gram Panchayat. Thus participation became a right, and Gram Sabha an accessible forum for citizens to make known their opinions in the process of decision making at a local level.
The renewable energy (RE) initiative was taken up in Narlewadi in 2006 with two major objectives. One, to protect the tree cover ensuring sustainability of the watershed developmentproject and two, to reduce the drudgery of women. The Case Study narrates the process and impacts of the project.
The paper is based upon detailed case studies of watershed projects and analysis of experiences under innovative watershed projects. It synthesizes the lessons from studies on five themes namely (i) User rights, (ii) Capacity building, (iii) Equity for resource poor families, (iv) Participatory monitoring and evaluation systems, and (v) Withdrawal strategy/ post project sustainability. These themes were pursued by five anchor organizations associated with the study namely WASSAN, PLF, WOTR, MANAGE and WDCU in the state of Orissa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.