The Co-opting Cooperative Governance Systems to Privatize
Pani Panchayat and Swajal Schemes of the World Bank
By usurping the word Panchayat for creating user groups or stakeholders who pay for water, the World Bank is undermining the concept of community control over this natural resource. The World Bank's Pani Panchayats or Water Committees do not represent the entire community, but are formed with those who have financial, social and political clout, and who support the local administration. These groups, working with selected Service Organizations (SOs) or Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) take control over the community's water resources, operate and manage it in return for fees paid by the users. Users have to repay the capital (fixed assets) costs over a period of time, and have to pay immediately in full for the operation and management.