Water policy and action plan 2020: an alternative – A report for the Planning Commission

The policy and action plan presented take into account the larger and long-term goals for management of water resources before the nation

A report for the Planning Commission presents the water policy and action plan for the year 2020 for the country. The goals  put forward in the policy are such as would do justice to all users of water and yet would be practical and achievable. At present it is the central and state governments that play the key role in the management of water resources. The policy proposed, on the other hand, seeks to involve all the people at the level of the local communities so that they can conserve, develop and manage the water resource at the local level itself.

The policy put forward suggests suitable changes at the macro level in the governmental organisational structures and the adoption of the river basin approach to the integrated planning and management of water resources. At the micro level the policy suggests the setting up of community organisations throughout the country - Watershed Management Associations (WMAs) in rainfed areas, Water Users Associations (WUAs) in irrigated areas, Joint Forest Management (JFM) committees in forest areas and Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) in urban areas. These community organisations will be the organisational mechanism through which people can be involved in the management of water resources.

The action programme and implementation schedule proposed by the authors along with this policy clarifies the practical implications of the changes proposed in the policy, suggests an approach for action and emphasises the urgency of carrying out the proposed changes. The organisational and institutional changes suggested can come about only if there is an attitudinal change among the government functionaries as well as the people with respect to de-centralisation and transferring authority and responsibility to the people at the community level. 

Click here to read the action plan



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