A day after the National Development Council meeting, the UPA government on Friday would seek the consent of the Chief Ministers to adopt the National Water Policy, the draft of which has already come in for opposition from several states. The draft of the policy will be discussed by the National Water Resources Council chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
All Chief Ministers are members of the National Water Resources Council, which last met a decade ago.
Some of the provisions of the draft national water policy, especially the proposal to evolve a broad over-arching national legal framework of general principles on water, had been objected to by even some Congress-ruled states like Kerala and Haryana.
Many of the states have in the past voiced fears that putting in place an over-arching national water framework law would amount to infringement into their domain as water is a state subject. The Water Resources Ministry, on the other hand, argues that states are free to formulate water policies on the lines of the national water policy or make changes to suit their priorities.
“We hope to forge a consensus. Anyways states have the right to formulate their own policies,” Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat said.
The proposal that a water regulatory authority should be established in each state has also not found favour with some states.
The initial draft had also come in for criticism from activists as they said the document focused more on privatisation and commercialisation of water resources and gave priority to industrial needs over agriculture. The ministry modified the draft and came up with a revised one to address these concerns.