The focus of this paper will be to investigate the nature of policy reform in the water supply infrastructure sector in India. In the formal division of powers, much of the authority to implement policies in this sector rests with state governments and the role of the national government is largely restricted to recommending broad policy directions. Since the late 1990s, with the diffusion of the reform agenda into this sector, the national government has taken a number of measures that try to intervene more confidently in setting policy agendas in the states. However, this intervention has not proceeded along expected lines and more assertive policy articulations have been made by different states. A host of factors, such as the proliferation of regional parties and the diverse political logics behind reform implementation in each state are behind this. Using the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India as examples, this paper will develop a model of how water supply policy reforms are being transmitted.

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