Monday, January 13, 2014

Report Card 2013 - Ministry of Water Resources, GoI

Below mentioned extract is taken out from a press release – initiatives taken during 2013 - by Union Ministry of Water Resources, GoI.

1. Bilateral Co-Operation... in Water Resources Development and Management with Government of Rwanda.
2. National Painting Competition on Water Conservation.
3. Redesigned Website of National Projects Construction Corporation Limited.
4. Union Budget 2013-14 Highlighted Five inland Waterways have been declared as National Waterways.
5. Ministry of Water Resources notifies the Final Award of CWDT.
6. India Water Week-2013 organized.
7. Policy on Groundwater Exploitation.
8. Hydro-Meteorological Data Dissemination Policy (2013) Released.
9. Declaration of the Year 2013 as “Water Conservation Year-2013”.
10. Draft National Water Framework Bill, Draft River Basin Management Bill and Draft National Policy Guidelines released for Water Sharing/Distribution amongst States for Comments.
11. Approval of R&D programme in water sector for the XII Plan period: Outlay 360 Crore.
12. Committee Constituted to Understand the Possible Causes of Recent Flood and Land Slides in the State of Uttarakhand and Suggest Remedial Measures Ground water management and regulation scheme for the XII Plan period
13. Constituted Special Committee for Interlinking of Rivers
14. Continuation of Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme and Scheme of National Projects in XII Plan
15. Human Resources Development and Capacity Building Scheme for the XII Plan Period
16. Constitution of Supervisory Committee on Babhali Barrage

Am I missing something here?

Entries 1 (co-op with Rwanda), 2 (painting competition), 6 (organizing Water Week) hardly create any difference in Indian environment.

Ministry of Water Resources don’t have many things to do with entries 4 (declaring five inland waterways to national waterways) and 5 (Final Award of CWDT, this is by a different body).

Entries 8 (policy release), 9 (declaration of 2013 as water conservation year), 12, 13 and 16 (constituting committees) are either some declarations, constitution of committees or releases of some policies. Both you and I knew what happened to majority of reports submitted by many previous committees. Interestingly, I didn’t see any claim by Ministry of Water Resources about the implementation of any previous committee reports!!!

For entry 3 (redesigning website) I don’t know what exactly the new changes are, so no comments.
This leaves us with entries 7, 10, 11, 14 and 15.

7. Policy on Groundwater Exploitation.

Bill to regulate and control groundwater development and management in the Country. Constitution of Water Quality Assessment Authority (WQAA). Reports on ground water and Surface water pollution hotspots are uploaded to WQAA website.

--- Again creation of a bill. Mapping hotspots are indeed a good initiative. However, other than creating a new committee, what are the achievements? Are we doing something to improve the water table? Did we achieve any measurable progress in this area? What GoI is going to do to stop the water table from going down further (especially in the cities)? What GoI is going to do to improve the quality of water distribution network?

10. Draft National Water Framework Bill, Draft River Basin Management Bill and Draft National Policy Guidelines released for Water Sharing/Distribution amongst States for Comments.

--- Good to see a new bill. However, what about sand mining from river basins? What about overexploitation of river basins? In many cases, it is National Green Tribunal or Courts which are taking actions to protect the basins not ministry.

11. Approval of R&D programme in water sector for the XII Plan period: Outlay 360 Crore.
-- Good one.

14. Continuation of Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme and Scheme of National Projects in XII Plan

“CCEA gave its approval for continuation of Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) with a total outlay of Rs. 55,200 crore. It is expected that States would create an additional irrigation potential of 8.7mn hectare.

CCEA also approved National Projects and Command Area Development & Water Management (CAD & WM) during the XII Plan with a total outlay of Rs. 15,000 Crore. Would help in creating irrigation potential of 7.6mn hectares”.

--- Outlays are indeed big numbers. However, in the changed environment if we are continue to follow old irrigation methods, then water will never be enough. Cities need water for drinking, sanitation etc; industries need water for manufacturing; thermal power plants need huge quantity of water; agriculture needs water so on and so forth. More importantly, river itself need some water for the sake of ecosystem. Adding more water to irrigation channels and at the same time following old irrigation methods will only add to the wastage. What about popularizing drip irrigation and methods like that?

15. Human Resources Development and Capacity Building Scheme for the XII Plan Period

“Total financial outlay is 351 Crore.  Existing training institutions will be strengthened, which includes National Water Academy (NWA), Rajiv Gandhi National Ground Water Training & Research Institute (RGI), North Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management,  Tezpur (NERIWALM), Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Central Water Commission (CWC) and also officers of the Central and State Governments.”

--- Good investments in R&D. Hope that there will be some outputs as well.

What I am missing here is ‘drip irrigation’ and other such technologies. What I am missing here is action - how government is planning to fulfil water requirements of Indian cities. There are a lot of such missing entries. Hope that Ministry of Water Resources will do some measurable progress in next year, instead of creating and publishing endless new policies!!!

Sajeev.

1 comment:

  1. Brillant piece of information, I had come to know about your web-page from my friend hardkik, chennai,i have read atleast 9 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your webpage gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanx a million once again, Regards, Ministry of Water Resources careers 2014 Application Form JE 229

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