India's Drylands

A landmark achievement of the research done by SPS was the publication in 1998 of India's Drylands: Tribal Societies and Development through Environmental Regeneration. This book argued for a decisive shift in macro-economic policy towards India's neglected drylands. In the last decade some major changes in India's policy regime reflected an affirmation of the arguments made in specific chapters of the India's Drylands. These include

Widespread recognition the groundwater situation in India was indeed far more critical than hitherto been realised;
Setting Up of the National Rainfed Areas Authority in 2006, specifically focused on the issues of development of the dryland regions;
Passage of the Forest Rights Act, 2006;
Passage of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in 2005 for full public employment guarantee for rural households; and
Formulation of the new Common Guidelines for Watershed Development, providing a framework for watershed development interventions in dryland areas.

With these changes happening, it is important that we re-visit the key arguments of the various chapters of the book and cast them in a new form in the light of the learnings from the subsequent experience. The book is currently under a process of revision.