India has undergone rapid economic development over the past decade and with a population of more than 1.2 billion, it is now the world’s largest democracy. The country has undergone reforms to spur economic growth and is increasingly focused on boosting industrialisation with its ‘Make in India’ campaign. India rise has also seen its global significance increase, with recent leadership on solar power and renewables and increasing financing of infrastructure, including dams, in other regional and international developing countries. The Covid-19 pandemic will have a severe impact on the country but also places the country at the heart of vaccine production for developing countries.
To build back better it will be important for infrastructure to be carefully planned and assessed. FutureDAMS is engaging with partners to support better understanding of dams, sustainable development and the country’s growing international profile as an infrastructure builder.
Understanding Large Dam Impacts: Improving the science and data foundations
FutureDAMS researchers used extensive data on dams in India to examine the economic ex post assessment of the impacts of large dams on long-term agricultural development, poverty reduction, and regional inequality. The team worked to construct a novel data-set of large dams in India and aim to substantially improve the science and social science foundations of analysis of the economic and developmental impacts of large dams, improving on an iconic analysis by Duflo and Pande (2007).
India’s dam building in Africa
Other work in this case study region includes a critical analysis of India’s dam building in Africa. Barnaby Dye’s published working paper analyses how India’s development cooperation with Africa has significantly changed, finding uneven convergence, with some changes towards more interventionist policies to improve project outcomes but a continuation of sovereignty-first principles. The working paper argues that India’s selective convergence reflects its attempts to deal with its growing portfolio of development cooperation, and particular domestic political priorities.
Barnaby Dye is also investigated the potential differences in India’s financing, planning and construction of dams using a case study of the Nyabarongo Dam, Rwanda. This dam was financed by subsidised lines of credit offered by the Indian ExIm Bank. Barnaby reflects on India’s development cooperation more broadly, but also argues that to understand such projects, and the developmental impact of India in Africa, it is vital to consider the agency of African governments.
India’s Himalayan dams
Further research was conducted on India’s dam building in the Himalaya. One project involves Postdoctoral Researcher Dr Shruti Jain and Professor Amita Baviskar. They are investigated the national relations and international politics of India’s Himalayan dam building, aiming to understand the latest trends and potential lesson learned in recent projects.
Meanwhile Udisha Sakani has undertaken primary research in India, Nepal and Bhutan to understand India’s dam building in the Himalaya in comparative perspective. Her FutureDAMS working paper examines the Arun-III dam in Nepal, the events that led to its suspension and subsequent resurrection and the importance of India-Nepali relations to Himalayan dam building.
|10/2021||Working paper||Anti-dam struggles and the technopolitics of hydropower: the case of Arun-III in Nepal||Working paper by Udisha Saklani analysing India’s dam building in the Himalaya in a comparative perspective.|
|01/2021||Working paper||Uneven convergence in development? The case of India’s lines of credit to Africa||Working paper by Barnaby Dye analysing how India’s development cooperation with Africa has significantly changed.|
|07/2020||Webinar||Meeting Africa’s Latest Dam Builders: The Indian ExIm Bank, ‘Entrepreneurial’ Companies and the Outcomes of South-South Cooperation||Through a case study of the Nyabarongo dam, Dye reflects on India’s development cooperation broadly, and argues that to understand the developmental impact of India in Africa, it is vital to consider the agency of African governments.|