Book Review: ‘People First’ by G. Mathi Vathanan

Empowering Communities, Sustaining Futures: A Journey Through Odisha's Water Revolution

Book Title: People First: How Odisha’s Drink from Tap Mission Quenched Every Thirst
Author: G. Mathi Vathanan
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-9390260935
Date Published: Feb. 8, 2024
Price: INR 399

People First by G. Mathi Vathanan Book Cover

Book Review

Mathi Vathanan’s book “People First: How Odisha’s Drink from Tap Mission Quenched Every Thirst” is a riveting account of his experiences and contributions to the transformation of Odisha’s water supply. With an emphasis on obtaining universal access to safe drinking water, the book emphasises WATCO’s launch of the ‘Drink from Tap Mission’ in August 2019, which represents a key milestone in the state’s water management efforts.

The objective focuses on supplying high-quality water to urban disadvantaged neighbourhoods to gradually cover all slum populations. Pilot implementations in important locations such as Bhubaneswar and Puri show a commitment to inclusion and alignment with current government programmes, resulting in increased outreach and efficacy.

Vathanan’s book details the obstacles and triumphs of executing large-scale water programmes, as well as insights into leadership methods and community relationships. Through examples of overcoming obstacles like the COVID-19 epidemic and bureaucratic complexity, the book emphasises the crucial need to guarantee access to safe drinking water, especially for vulnerable people such as children.

With a larger perspective on the global importance of public sector-led water management, Vathanan’s work emerges as a paradigm not only for India but also for other countries facing water access difficulties. As climate change worsens and urban populations rise, the need for sustainable and equitable water management techniques grows more pressing, making Vathanan’s thoughts and experiences an invaluable resource for policymakers and practitioners alike.

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The writing style of “People First: How Odisha’s Drink from Tap Mission Quenched Every Thirst” is both interesting and educational. G. Mathi Vathanan successfully explains difficult concepts and experiences in a simple and accessible way, making the book appropriate for both professionals and ordinary readers interested in water management challenges. Vathanan’s analysis of facts and events in the water sector is comprehensive and well-researched.

He gives deep insights into the obstacles encountered and the techniques used to overcome them, giving readers a thorough knowledge of the complexities involved in executing large-scale water programmes. Furthermore, the inclusion of real-life examples and case studies deepens the conversation, helping readers to understand the actual consequences of policy decisions and actions.

Overall, the book’s contents are commendable, and it can be read for its clarity and coherence, while the factual discussion is rigorous and insightful, making “People First: How Odisha’s Drink from Tap Mission Quenched Every Thirst” an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the intersection of water management, policy, and governance.

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