Deterioration of the Informal Tank Institution in Tamil Nadu::Caste-based Rural Society and Rapid Economic Development in India
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The informal tank institution seems to have functioned relatively well in Tamil Nadu, India, at least until the early 1970s. The institution had been supported by three layers of irrigation functionaries at village level. Especially important was the role of the lower irrigation functionaries such as the water-turner (<i>Neerkatti</i>), who had been conducting important tasks such as sluice operation, field water management and others. Based on the authors' recent field survey in seven tank-benefitted villages in Madurai District of Tamil Nadu, especially interviews with 31 <i>Neerkatti</i> families, after discussing physical and socioeconomic factors which caused the deterioration of tank irrigation and the village-level informal tank institution, the paper focuses on the current status of institution, including how rules and regulations, and the sanction system on violators and related systems are functioning, and analyzes the current socioeconomic status and perceptions of the <i>Neerkattis</i>. It emphasizes the contradiction between the traditional caste-based society, which governs the informal tank institution, and the recent rapid economic development in India.
- Japanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Japanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 49(1), 93-123, 2011
Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University