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Draft National Water Policy (2012)

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Water

Here is the link to announcement of the release of the "Draft National Water Policy (2012)" by Ministry of Water Resources on 31-January, 2012 15:11 IST  - open for comments till 29th February, 2012.

The draft policy document is attached.

I expect it is the following clause that the "mai-baap sarkar" wallahs are making a hue and cry about:
 
13.4 The “Service Provider” role of the state has to be gradually shifted to that of a regulator of services and facilitator for strengthening the institutions responsible for planning, implementation and management of water resources. The water related services should be transferred to community and / or private sector with appropriate “Public Private Partnership” model.

Well, all their objections have more or less been addressed fairly comprehensively here. Whatever, the debate can continue.

Muralidhar Rao

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DraftNWP2012_English9353289094.pdf138.63 KB

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forward movement

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"The truth is that the government's efforts needs to be supplemented and that is why we are looking at the private sector," says a senior official who did not wish to be identified. The government needs a total of around Rs. 2 lakh crore just for irrigation and it cannot be met by the treasury. "Moreover, how can you fulfil the promise of right to food unless there is water?" he said.

- - - The one area where supporters and opposers of the water policy converge is on the need to conserve groundwater. The water policy wants firm laws to protect indiscriminate exploitation of groundwater and experts agree that it should be the property of the state.

- - -  There is a need to bring in efficiencies in water distribution, says Joy. But this objective can be met by focussing on participatory irrigation management and formation of water users collectives.  The policy does hint at that, but with shaky conviction.The “service provider” role of the state has to be gradually reduced and shifted to regulation and control of services. The water-related services should be transferred to community and/or private sector with appropriate “public private partnership” model under the general superintendence of the state or the stakeholders, it says.

“That,” former secretary Iyer says, “is the thin end of the wedge towards privatisation. On the one hand, if basic water is a fundamental right, the state cannot abdicate its responsibility to ensure that it is not negated. On the other, water has to be managed at the local level with community participation. PPP is a dubious proposition.”


For the full report in Forbes India, click here.

When Mr Iyer says that 'water is a fundamental right', does he also include in it water delivery at the turn of a tap at each citizen's home? If so, does he want to extend the argument to electric power (including for air-conditioning in Delhi in summer, as demanded by a lady at a workshop, to protest against GoK's policy to privatise power supply, that I had attended some 5 years back), and many other services too, which the state is beginning to guarantee one by one, even as the ones they are supposedly providing currently are all falling apart, and without a clue as to how to go about it all? So, can we do without PPP's? That they have to be well structured is a given; how to achieve it needs to the focus now.

Muralidhar Rao

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