What is ‘Common Pool Resources’? Explain the major factors that leads to the deterioration ofCPRs in India

‘Common Pool Resources’ (CPRs) are natural resources that are shared by a community or a group of people.

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These resources are typically non-excludable, meaning that it is difficult to exclude anyone from using or accessing them, and they are rivalrous, meaning that one person’s use or consumption of the resource reduces its availability for others. Examples of CPRs include forests, grazing lands, water bodies, fisheries, and groundwater.

In India, several factors contribute to the deterioration of CPRs:

  1. Overexploitation: CPRs are often subject to overuse and exploitation due to the lack of clear ownership and regulations. The absence of well-defined property rights can lead to a tragedy of the commons, where individuals or communities act in their self-interest and deplete the resource beyond its sustainable limits.
  2. Population Pressure: India’s large and growing population puts significant pressure on CPRs. The increasing demand for food, water, fuelwood, and other resources leads to their unsustainable extraction and utilization.
  3. Poverty and Livelihood Dependence: Many communities in India depend on CPRs for their livelihoods, especially in rural areas. Poverty and limited alternative income opportunities often drive people to extract resources from CPRs in an unsustainable manner to meet their immediate needs.
  4. Weak Governance and Institutional Framework: Inadequate governance and institutional arrangements contribute to the deterioration of CPRs. The absence of effective monitoring, enforcement, and regulatory mechanisms results in illegal activities such as overfishing, illegal logging, encroachments, and unauthorized extraction of resources.
  5. Lack of Awareness and Participation: Limited awareness and understanding of sustainable resource management practices among communities can hinder conservation efforts. Additionally, the exclusion of local communities from decision-making processes related to CPRs can lead to a lack of ownership and responsibility, further exacerbating the problem.
  6. Climate Change and Environmental Degradation: Climate change and environmental degradation have a significant impact on CPRs in India. Deforestation, water scarcity, pollution, and habitat destruction reduce the resilience of these resources, making them more vulnerable to degradation and depletion.

Addressing the deterioration of CPRs in India requires a multi-faceted approach that includes community participation, effective governance, sustainable resource management practices, and policy interventions. Encouraging community-based management, promoting awareness and education, implementing sustainable harvesting practices, and strengthening regulatory mechanisms are essential steps towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of CPRs in India.

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