Research Projects

Analyzing the impact of Micro and Medium Irrigation Investments on Agricultural Practices (with Ashwini Chhatre and Hemanth Guthala)

Abstract: We aim to study water-use efficiency and sustainable water conservation practices driven by government subsidy and workfare schemes. We empirically test the impact of investments made under the micro and medium Irrigation schemes like “Per drop more crop” and water related investments under MGNREGA (Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) on changing agricultural practices. We estimate the impact of these investments on shifting cropping patterns from low-value high water consuming crops to high-value low water consuming crops by using the Agricultural markets daily arrival and price data. The impact on agricultural productivity is analysed by an increased usage of fertilizer and seeds in areas with improved irrigation. In this paper, we also study the changing trends of soil moisture content in the areas impacted by the Irrigation using remote sensing data to assess the effectiveness of the policy.

Contours of the sustainability challenge in India(with Ashwini Chhatre, Ruth DeFries, Hemanth Guthala, Madhulika Gurazada)

Abstract: With increasing population and urbanization, along with high demand for infrastructure, natural systems are continuously subjected to risky pathways. India’s food systems, water, land use, clean air, and biological heritage are entangled with complexities and uncertainties that could put future populations at risk. In this paper, we present the scale of problems for sustainability in India from a multi-dimensional perspective. The spatial choice of infrastructure, the current direction of pathways of existing land use are analysed to present a picture of the exposure, intensity of risk induced to the population. Outcomes in biological heritage and public health are further analysed to argue the fallibility of the existing path to development and prosperity. 

Impact of Human Wildlife conflict on Rainfed livelihoods(with Ashwini Chhatre, Sumeet Gulati and Kathy Baylis)

Abstract: We aim to establish wildlife as a driver for change in land use patterns and cropping choice of farmers, by studying the impact of wildlife on human livelihoods and lives. We analyse household’s efforts in adaptation to the wildlife conflict, what crop choice do they make to mitigate the conflict, and what factors allow the farmers to make these changes to avoid conflict. We demonstrate that human wildlife conflict is a reason for economic loss to the farmers and it leads to intensification of crops due to increased opportunity cost of labor and capital. We use a value at risk framework to statistically model the potential for loss incurred by the households, leveraging a cross sectional primary survey data collected on rainfed livelihoods across 250 villages and 10,000 households. This primary data is combined with other relevant secondary datasets (agricultural variables like cropping pattern; biophysical indicators like tree cover, topography) for the modelling framework.

Future Research Interests

  • Socio-Hydrology: Effective resource allocation and valuation of water resources considering linkages between hydrological cycle, communities, political economy, policies, etc
  • Impact of macroeconomic policies on supply and demand of the water sector
  • Trade-offs faced by economic agents as we try to achieve the aspirations of sustainable development
  • Alternatives and policy options to address risks posed by climate change on low income nations/people
  • Benefit cost analysis of various environmental regulations
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