Case Study: The Indian Ministry Of Urban Development

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Workshop on the Regulation of the Urban Water and Sanitation Sector in India

This workshop was requested by the Minister himself and conducted by the Chairman of CBS and the Chief Regulator of the Scottish Government and attended by 30 senior Ministry and Municipal officers involved in the regulation process.

The workshop’s aims were;

  • To examine international practice in economic regulation likely to be relevant to the Indian context and to identity the fundamental principles and critical success factors which could be incorporated into an effective Indian regulatory system; 
  • To compare this with experience gathered in recent Indian reviews of the topic, and identify the obstacles to developing economic regulatory regimes in India;
  • To test international principles and success factors against the Indian context and develop outline action plans for Economic Regulation of water and sanitation in selected municipalities;
  • To turn these action plans into guidelines, for application in States, highlighting how to implement the approach;
  • To propose the next steps in taking regulation forward, possibly through a pilot project.  Thus to feature the necessary capability building at both the organisational and individual skill levels;
  • To incorporate and demonstrate within the workshop, the action learning processes that will be needed for implementation.

What needs to be DONE to overcome the obstacles to effective regulation of water resources in India – what are the critical success factors?

The structure of the workshop was as follows;

Day 1
  • Key challenges of the Indian water and sanitation sector.
  • What is economic regulation?  A model for regulation.
  • Economic regulation of Scottish Water; the legal and financial framework; technical, customer service and tariff setting; relationship between Government and Scottish Water and how the system was set up.
  • Indian experience of regulation in specific states.
  • How action learning methods can be used in the workshop.  Syndicate groups on how to translate the Scottish experiences to India.  Feedback and discussions.

Transferring the latest knowledge is not difficult. Getting participants to transfer this knowledge to the workplace and produce sustainable changes was the challenge. Were participants competent and committed to changing working practices? Would their bosses support any changes?

Day 2
  • How to implement economic regulation; the essential ingredients.
  • Business planning in a regulated utility, ie Scottish Water.
  • How to develop the capacity to implement regulation.
  • What are the obstacles to implementation in India?
  • Syndicates prepare guidelines for introducing regulation.
  • The action plans for implementation and presentation to the Minister.

Does the organisation have the implementation capability to deliver an effective regulatory system?


The workshop was delivered immediately following the one on managing the municipal water utilities with a different audience consisting of officers at a similar level to those attending the first workshop.  The results were identical to those of the first workshop, ie

  • The transfer of knowledge was successful due to the quality of the presentations, the interactive design of the workshop and the enthusiasm demonstrated in the group project teams.
  • However, the key question concerned how this new knowledge was transferred to each participant’s workplace and whether they had the competence and commitment to introduce any modifications to working practices and, more to the point, whether their supervisors supported any changes.  We were not able to evaluate whether any intervention took place and what their impact was.  What we did was to discuss the issues around the management of change and to identify with the participants what the obstacles were.
  • Given the above difficulty what we focused on was whether the participants understood the action learning philosophy and the impact  it could have on their individual management performances.  In both workshops there was an enthusiastic reception of the personal development plan outline given and how this key element of action learning could lead to developments in their personal competence and commitment.  We stressed this could happen particularly if integrated with the focus on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of their departments – the content of the individual projects.