ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Ramaswamy R IyerSubscribe to Ramaswamy R Iyer

Alternative National Water Policy: A Response to Comments

Alternative National Water Policy: A Response to Comments Ramaswamy R Iyer This is in response to the comments made by Rahul Banerjee (

National Water Policy: An Alternative Draft for Consideration

The Ministry of Water Resources is at present engaged in revising the National Water Policy 2002. Instead of trying to make changes in the 2002 Policy, the ministry should put it aside and draft a new policy, starting from first principles. In that context, the draft presented here is an attempt to formulate the kind of document that could be drawn up. It seeks to set forth for consideration a broad national perspective on the nature of water and on its prudent, wise, sustainable, equitable and harmonious use.

Briscoe on the Indus Treaty: A Response

John Briscoe's article ("Troubled Waters: Can a Bridge Be Built over the Indus?", EPW, 11 December 2010) on the implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty is a very one-sided presentation of the issues. Such perspectives are unhelpful in improving relations between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan's Questionable Move on Water

The sharing of the Indus waters stands settled by the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, and the nature of the sharing is such that no disputes can arise on this matter. Questions of the conformity of Indian projects to the provisions of the treaty can indeed arise, but the agreement provides institutional mechanisms for dealing with them. By presenting a "non-paper" to India about its concerns on the sharing of river waters, Pakistan is therefore setting out on a dangerous path that could have major implications. It is perhaps inadvertently destroying the one positive element in the relationship between the two countries, and making it impossible for the India-Pakistan relationship to improve in the foreseeable future.

Not Mere Quibbles

This is with reference to Deepak Malghan’s comment (EPW, 19 December 2009) on my review of Jayanta Bandyopadhyay’s book.

Number of Deaths

In my article “Floods, Himalayan Rivers, Nepal: Some Heresies” (EPW, 15 November), I had said “thousands have died”. That statement was based on the impression that I had formed from whatever I had read about the horrendous situation in Bihar. I should have checked it.

Floods, Himalayan Rivers, Nepal: Some Heresies

The strategy of building embankments to constrain river flow and to prevent floods in north Bihar has proven to be questionable and flawed. Reliance on a dam-and-reservoir system for that purpose only offers limited protection and even greater risks of flooding in case of damage. Learning to cope with floods and managing a transition to a system that does not rely upon the embankments any more seems to be the rational course of action.

Water: A Critique of Three Concepts

Discussion of issues concerning water is largely based on three concepts - virtual water, water stress and water storage per capita. Virtual water and water stress have limited usefulness from the point of view of analysis or policy formulation, while the concept of water storage per capita is fallacious and needs to be abandoned.

Towards a Just Displacement and Rehabilitation Policy

This article, based on the author's personal involvement at different stages in official and non-official capacities in displacement and rehabilitation issues, traces the evolution of thinking in India in this area. It narrates the story of the changing drafts of a policy document under consideration; notes that emerging enlightenment was reversed by the pursuit of "growth" and "development" accompanied by an impatience with other concerns; regrets the loss of a sense of justice and compassion; and outlines an approach to a more humane and equitable policy on displacement and rehabilitation.

Story of a Man of God

Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, His People and an Empire by Rajmohan Gandhi


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