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The irrigation sector plays a vital role in food production and rural economy. Realizing the importance various reforms are carried out world over to modernize irrigation systems and make them more efficient. One such approach is the decentralization of irrigation management from the government agencies to the end users. This paper looks into the implementation of Irrigation Management Act in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh where partial responsibility of irrigation management was transferred to the end users. Emphasis is given on the administrative, governance, institutional and financial reforms carried out as per the act and the impact these reforms had on the irrigation management. The success of such programs is highly dependent on effectiveness of the execution and the financial resources available with the government which are often limited. Such programs will reap desired benefits, if the end users are involved in more effective manner with greater autonomy and delegation of authority. Also in view of financial scarcity with governments to carry out such large programs, the idea of involving private sector investors in irrigation management may be a good option. Such alternative institutional models can be considered to further improve the overall efficiency and management of the irrigation systems.


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