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Indian govt constitutes national forum on water resources

May 30, 2013

The forum would facilitate sharing of ideas on better water management among various states in India.

The Indian government has set up a national forum on water resources for sharing ideas on their better management among the states. Water Resource Minister Harish Rawat said today that the National Forum of Water Resources and Irrigation Ministers of States will be a permanent forum with the provision that half of its members would retire after every two years. They would be replaced by the ministers from states and union territories from similar regions in the country.

Rawat was speaking at the first meeting of National Forum of Water Resources and Irrigation Ministers in New Delhi.

Seeking to dispel apprehension, the Minister said the Centre has already clarified that it does not intend to encroach upon the powers of the state governments on the issue of water. He reassured the states that the framework of law and the river basin management bill would be drafted in such a manner that rights and powers of the states were not curtailed in any manner.

Underlining the increasing challenges, Rawat said, the country needs to enhance present water storage capacity and augment aquifer replenishment to maintain the per capita water availability, that is, 1,545 cubic metre per year. He said, by 2050, India will consume much more water than what it is consuming today.

Hence, the central and state governments and even the municipal and Panchayat bodies are duty bound to provide a minimum water security to the common man and the poorest of the poor.

Noting that the present capacity and storage facilities under construction are not adequate enough to meet the future challenge, Rawat said a massive mobilisation of resources is required even if the country plans to develop the present storage capacity from 253 billion cubic meters to 450 billion cubic meters.

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