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This case study explores how a community in Kerala manages its own service delivery in a professional manner.

TitleJalanidhi programme for professional service delivery in Nenmeni Panchayath, Wayanad District, Kerala
Publication TypeResearch Report
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSaraswathy, R
Pagination62 p.
Date Published02/2016
PublisherIRC, Centre of Excellence for Change Chennai (CEC)
Publication LanguageEnglish

Kerala, one of the smaller states of India, located on the south-west coast, is known for its development model, focused on literacy and women centred socio-economic empowerment. It has been the first to implement decentralised local governance, with its People's Plan in the late 1990's. With the support of World Bank, the Kerala Government has piloted a new service delivery model for rural water supply service. The Nenmeni Sudha Jala Vitharana Society (NSJVS- Nenmeni Drinking Water Supply Society) is one such model under the World Bank aided Jalanidhi I Project and this case study explores how the community manages its own service delivery in a professional manner.

The NSJVS is a registered non-profit organisation established to manage a rural piped water supply scheme in the Nenmeni Gram Panchayat. The end users of the water supply scheme make up the Society's General Body with some becoming part of the democratically elected Executive Committee. As a registered public body, they are bound by the relevant laws of the land for its governance.

The technical and managerial competencies developed during the implementation of the Jalanidhi programme in the 2005-2007 period have paved the way for the success of this community management approach, as well as its sustainability. The well-defined project cycle with intensive emphasis on pre-planning and planning before implementation of the project was the key to sustain the results of the initial 27 month project. Notwithstanding the considerable external investment in software during the intensive capital development phase, implemented with the involvement of a support organisation (NGO Shreyas), the NSJVS is an independent body with a dedicated team under a technically sound and efficient leadership that not only manages the water supply scheme very professionally but also provides expertise to other organisations involved in water supply management.

The governing body, as well as the administrators, maintain transparency within the organisation and this helps the NSJVS attract more consumers, from 727 in 2007 to nearly 3,000 in 2015 and in expanding their area coverage, besides taking over three other failing schemes from the Gram Panchayat and converting them in to fully functional water supply schemes. With only little more than a third of the population being served at present the NSJVS has to confront many challenges with their professionalism to reach 100 % coverage with potable water supply in the Nenmeni Gram Panchayat. The operational expenditure at the service provider level for 2014-15 was INR 254 per person served, funded against the revenue generated of INR 249 per person, coming from various sources including the tariff, membership entry fee, subscription fee, training fees, etc.This success should be seen in the light of the socio-environment-economic background of Kerala and the decentralised governance in practice there, where the management of water was seen, along with other socio-economic and environmental aspects, in an integrated manner. Notwithstanding this considerable success, the study notes the ongoing subsidy to power costs through the GP support for pumping to be paid for to the state electricity board at domestic electricity rates and also for the external support to improve water quality through a new treatment plant.

Citation Key81982



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