I am a policy analyst and consultant with in-depth knowledge of the water sector. I headed the policy advocacy and research wing at WaterAid India, a leading NGO. Formerly, I worked as the programme director for water with the Centre for Science and Environment. My job involves advocacy and research work of the Centre on water, sanitation and waste water to improve water-sewage service delivery and equity.
Before CSE, I headed the Water Community of Solution Exchange, the UN’s knowledge management (KM) programme that helps individuals and institutions expand their activities and horizons. My work informed policy and programs of the government, NGOs and donors. I brought out publications that reflected state-of-the-sector knowledge on water management, governance and conflicts. For example, I facilitated e-consultations to seek provide the government inputs for the development of India's five year plan.
I am a published author of books on India’s traditional water wisdom, rural governance and trends in rural development. I have been writing on environment, health and social trends as well as on business topics for nearly 25 years. My essay was published in an UN-sponsored publication Water Voices From Around The World.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in mass communication. I have an advanced certificate in integrated water resources management.
I walked back from a friend's house after dinner on Diwali. It was about midnight. Smoke from firecrackers hung heavy on the air. So heavy that I was wheezing, being asthmatic, a few steps later. I ha...
There is a custom inherited from our forefathers, of paying tithes. This was a universal practice, that now pa es for bribes in some le enlightened countries of the 'emerging world' and cushy jobs in...
Water is a natural resource to be nurtured and managed, not just an input for life, agriculture or industry. It has life-giving and life-taking qualities; intelligent management can hone one and blunt...
We were driving to Jaipur. The highway was a single carriageway with two lanes and a narrow shoulder. It was for the most part, smooth. No tolls marred our journey. The only trolls were the trucks and the occasional kings of the road, state transport buses. Those you needed to watch for and speed up to outrun them or scurry out of their way. The trucks were gentler and tried to avoid crushing you. Dhabas were non-existent
This is a story of caste, socio-economic class and plain fund-grabbing playing out in the smallest unit of execution -- the gram panchayat. It’s really time to look at villages and poverty differently.
The Kerala government in this year's vote on account has set aside more than ₹90 crore for Mazhapolima, a rainwater-linked well recharge scheme. It has worked because it has been community-driven and participatory, planning is bottom-up and led by panchayats, while the state government facilitates. It is a process-oriented programme encouraging innovation and diversity. Setting up a household system is inexpensive. As a result, groundwater levels have improved significantly in Thrissur.
The tiny state of Sikkim in north-east India is the first to have provided toilets for all its citizens. In doing so, it has become the first to be free from open defecation. It did this by putting women first and strong leadership at all levels. Sikkim's achievement stands out in India, where about 600 million people continue to use open areas to defecate even if they have toilets. It shows how people can be convinced of the need to build and use toilets without financial support from the government.
In mid-August 2014, the Minister for Human Resources Development enthused that in one year all schools would have toilets for boys and girls. She was driven by Prime Minister Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. A year later, the Ministry's website shows a mark-sheet that would be the envy of any student. However, the evidence from non-MoHRD sources points in the direction opposite to what the Ministry would have us believe.