'It has been my cherished desire to usher in a SMART government, which will be simple, moral, accountable, responsive and transparent. I am very keen that the capabilities of the people should be harnessed and enhanced. Involvement of the people and stakeholders in delivery of public services through self-help and collective action should take place in all important sectors such as irrigation, education, health and welfare, civic amenities, for a better quality of life.' - Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh While the Irrigation Department in Andhra Pradesh was preoccupied with the contractor-oriented works in new projects, there was practically no flow of funds for the maintenance of the existing systems. Most of the schemes had then fallen into disrepair. The Government of Andhra Pradesh undertook a series of bold reform measures in quick succession to mitigate this plight. These included formulating a clear irrigation sector reforms policy, enacting legislation to create farmers organizations to manage and maintain all the irrigation systems, increasing water charges to restore sector viability, launching massive training programs for farmers and the irrigation bureaucracy to improve efficiency, and thereafter allocating resources to the farmers organizations to assume repair and maintenance of the irrigation and drainage systems to improve conveyance of water and bridging the gap between the potential created and actual utilization. The encouraging initial impacts of the program have garnered worldwide attention. This report brings out the legal, economic, social and political processes through which this reform program has gone so far. It considers the further progress of the program that would ultimately create a "virtuous circle." Study of Andhra Pradesh's successes and failures with this program can provide a design for a similar or modified reform program in other developing countries which would be suited to their circumstances.
Publisher: World Bank Publications