Be cautious

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public services, like water supplies, have collapsed in India under a double burden: the rich do not want pay for them and a corrupt bureaucracy ensures supplies hardly reach the poor. So, is privatisation a way out?

Before answering this question, we need to distinguish between water rights and its management being transferred from the state to collective entities of users or communities, or to profit-seeking enterprises. This distinction is often very conveniently ignored by most proponents of privatisation. We argue that while user/community control of water resources should be encouraged, the government should be very careful when privatising water supplies