Title: Sustainability and the indispensability of politics: a study of sanitation partnerships in urban India

Authors: Govind Gopakumar

Addresses: Concordia University, 1515 St. Catherine West, EV002.251, Montreal, Quebec H3G 2W1, Canada

Abstract: The chronic absence of hygienic sanitation for many urban Indians and the resultant contamination of surface water sources are a major cause for the poor environmental condition in most cities in India. In the past decade, public–private partnerships have been presented as an innovative strategy to rectify this pervasive problem. Numerous partnerships to improve sanitation have been launched in India as experiments. But while some of these partnerships have become sustainable, others have collapsed. This paper uses purposive transition analysis to inquire into the selective success of some notable partnerships. Making the connection that strategy and politics are indispensable to the endurance of partnerships, this paper concludes that sustainability in India is inherently a political enterprise that cannot be reduced to technical definitions.

Keywords: sanitation; India; socio-technical transition; politics; urban areas; hygiene; cities; contamination; surface water; water supply; environmental conditions; public–private partnerships; PPPs; innovative strategies; innovation; sanitary improvements; purposive transition analysis; political enterprises; sustainable society; sustainability; sustainable development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSOC.2010.036942

International Journal of Sustainable Society, 2010 Vol.2 No.4, pp.376 - 392

Available online: 18 Nov 2010

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