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February 16, 2013
Carr Center Fellow Sharmila Murthy spoke on a panel that examined land and water rights in India at the Harvard HPAIR 2013 Asia Conference February 16, 2013. Also on the panel were Namita Wahi, an SJD candidate and Byse Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School and Jasdeep Randhawa, an MPP candidate at Harvard Kennedy School and 2012 Harvard Water Security Initiative Fellow. The panel was moderated by Erum Sattar, an SJD candidate at Harvard Law School and 2012 Harvard Water Security Initiative Fellow. The panel was organized by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber, a student at Harvard College and HPAIR Conference Programming Associate.
Panelists (left to right): Erum Sattar, Sharmila Murthy, Namita Wahi and Jasdeep Randhawa
Namita Wahi opened the panel with a historical overview of how property rights in land in India have been organized since colonial times and the continuities/ruptures that have occurred over the course of the last sixty years since India became independent. She also spoke about how debates on property rights have often focused too much on abstract legal entitlements thereby obscuring the real issues that need to be resolved within evolving social and political contexts, framed by the overall discursive framework of economic development. Jasdeep Randhawa focused her presentation on ongoing water disputes between states in India, examining some of the legal and political reasons as to why the water disputes are not resolved. She then discussed the ongoing reforms by India's Planning Commission and offered some suggestions for the future. Sharmila Murthy examined the challenges of extending access to water and sanitation in the slums of Mumbai, suggesting how existing laws could be interpreted to expand services to even those slums that are "non-notified," as outlined in a recent article published in Health and Human Rights Journal.