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Keywords:

  • watershed development;
  • neoliberalism;
  • rural development;
  • drylands;
  • India;
  • community

Abstract

The impact of neoliberalism—an ideology that emphasizes private property and financial value-generation—has been little studied on development policy in India's drylands, which are inhabited by the greatest proportion of the country's poor. With global policy organisations and national governments emphasising market-oriented development in semi-arid areas, watershed development, the Indian state's largest development intervention for the drylands, now emphasises improving private land, intensifying input use and expanding irrigation in regions once considered ecologically fragile. Through an empirical account of the politics of categories, representations and technology, I discuss how neoliberal ideas of person, property and techniques of improvement are enacted in rainfed areas; and the implications for citizenship, equity and inclusion. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.